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The Richest Man in Babylon
          by George S. Clason


About the author....................5
An Historical Sketch of Babylon.....8
The Man Who Desired Gold...........15
The Richest Man In Babylon.........22
Seven Cures For A Lean Purse.......35
Meet The Goddess Of Good Luck......56
The Five Laws Of Gold..............71
The Gold Lender Of Babylon.........85
The Walls Of Babylon...............99
The Camel Trader Of Babylon.......104
The Clay Tablets From Babylon.....116
The Luckiest Man In Babylon.......128

         First Published in 1926.

Ahead of you stretches your future like a road leading into
the distance. Along that road are ambitions you wish to
accomplish . . . desires you wish to gratify.

To bring your ambitions and desires to fulfillment, you
must be successful with money. Use the financial principles
made clear in the pages which follow. Let them guide you
away from the stringencies of a lean purse to that fuller,
happier life a full purse makes possible.

Like the law of gravity, they are universal and unchanging.
May they prove for you, as they have proven to so many
others, a sure key to a fat purse, larger bank balances and
gratifying financial progress.


1.   Start thy purse to fattening
2.   Control thy expenditures
3.   Make thy gold multiply
4.   Guard thy treasures from loss
5.   Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
6.   Insure a future income
7.   Increase thy ability to earn

                   About the author
GEORGE SAMUEL CLASON was born in Louisiana,
Missouri, on November 7, 1874. He attended the
University of Nebraska and served in the United States
Army during the Spanish-American War. Beginning a long
career in publishing, he founded the Clason Map Company
of Denver, Colorado, and published the first road atlas of
the United States and Canada. In 1926, he issued the first of
a famous series of pamphlets on thrift and financial
success, using parables set in ancient Babylon to make each
of his points. These were distributed in large quantities by
banks and insurance companies and became familiar to
millions, the most famous being "The Richest Man in
Babylon," the parable from which the present volume takes
its title. These "Babylonian parables" have become a
modern inspirational classic.

Our prosperity as a nation depends upon the personal
financial prosperity of each of us as individuals.

This book deals with the personal successes of each of us.
Success means accomplishments as the result of our own
efforts and abilities. Proper preparation is the key to our
success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our
thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.

This book of cures for lean purses has been termed a guide
to financial understanding. That, indeed, is its purpose: to
offer those who are ambitious for financial success an
insight which will aid them to acquire money, to keep
money and to make their surpluses earn more money.

In the pages which follow, we are taken back to Babylon,
the cradle in which was nurtured the basic principles of
finance now recognized and used the world over.

To new readers the author is happy to extend the wish that
its pages may contain for them the same inspiration for
growing bank accounts, greater financial successes and the
solution of difficult personal financial problems so
enthusiastically reported by readers from coast to coast.

To the business executives who have distributed these tales
in such generous quantities to friends, relatives, employees
and associates, the author takes this opportunity to express
his gratitude. No endorsement could be higher than that of
practical men who appreciate its teachings because they,
themselves, have worked up to important successes by
applying the very principles it advocates.

Babylon became the wealthiest city of the ancient world
because its citizens were the richest people of their time.
They appreciated the value of money. They practiced sound
financial principles in acquiring money, keeping money
and making their money earn more money. They provided
for themselves what we all desire . . . incomes for the
                                                  G. S. C.

          An Historical Sketch of Babylon
In the pages of history there lives no city more glamorous
than Babylon. Its very name conjures visions of wealth and
splendor. Its treasures of gold and jewels were fabulous.
One naturally pictures such a wealthy city as located in a
suitable setting of tropical luxury, surrounded by rich
natural resources of forests, and mines. Such was not the
case. It was located beside the Euphrates River, in a flat,
arid valley. It had no forests, no mines—not even stone for
building. It was not even located upon a natural trade-route.
The rainfall was insufficient to raise crops.

Babylon is an outstanding example of man's ability to
achieve great objectives, using whatever means are at his
disposal. All of the resources supporting this large city
were man-developed. All of its riches were man-made.

Babylon possessed just two natural resources—a fertile soil
and water in the river. With one of the greatest engineering
accomplishments of this or any other day, Babylonian
engineers diverted the waters from the river by means of
dams and immense irrigation canals. Far out across that
arid valley went these canals to pour the life giving waters
over the fertile soil. This ranks among the first engineering
feats known to history. Such abundant crops as were the
reward of this irrigation system the world had never seen

Fortunately, during its long existence, Babylon was ruled
by successive lines of kings to whom conquest and plunder
were but incidental. While it engaged in many wars, most
of these were local or defensive against ambitious
conquerors from other countries who coveted the fabulous
treasures of Babylon. The outstanding rulers of Babylon
live in history because of their wisdom, enterprise and
justice. Babylon produced no strutting monarchs who
sought to conquer the known world that all nations might
pay homage to their egotism.

As a city, Babylon exists no more. When those energizing
human forces that built and maintained the city for
thousands of years were withdrawn, it soon became a
deserted ruin. The site of the city is in Asia about six
hundred miles east of the Suez Canal, just north of the
Persian Gulf. The latitude is about thirty degrees above the
Equator, practically the same as that of Yuma, Arizona. It
possessed a climate similar to that of this American city,
hot and dry.

Today, this valley of the Euphrates, once a populous
irrigated farming district, is again a wind-swept arid waste.
Scant grass and desert shrubs strive for existence against
the windblown sands. Gone are the fertile fields, the
mammoth cities and the long caravans of rich merchandise.
Nomadic bands of Arabs, securing a scant living by tending
small herds, are the only inhabitants. Such it has been since
about the beginning of the Christian era.

Dotting this valley are earthen hills. For centuries, they
were considered by travelers to be nothing else. The
attention of archaeologists were finally attracted to them
because of broken pieces of pottery and brick washed down
by the occasional rain storms. Expeditions, financed by
European and American museums, were sent here to
excavate and see what could be found. Picks and shovels
soon proved these hills to be ancient cities. City graves,
they might well be called.

Babylon was one of these. Over it for something like
twenty centuries, the winds had scattered the desert dust.
Built originally of brick, all exposed walls had
disintegrated and gone back to earth once more. Such is
Babylon, the wealthy city, today. A heap of dirt, so long
abandoned that no living person even knew its name until it
was discovered by carefully removing the refuse of
centuries from the streets and the fallen wreckage of its
noble temples and palaces.

Many scientists consider the civilization of Babylon and
other cities in this valley to be the oldest of which there is a
definite record. Positive dates have been proved reaching
back 8000 years. An interesting fact in this connection is
the means used to determine these dates. Uncovered in the
ruins of Babylon were descriptions of an eclipse of the sun.
Modern astronomers readily computed the time when such
an eclipse, visible in Babylon, occurred and thus
established a known relationship between their calendar
and our own.

In this way, we have proved that 8000 years ago, the
Sumerites, who inhabited Babylonia, were living in walled
cities. One can only conjecture for how many centuries
previous such cities had existed. Their inhabitants were not
mere barbarians living within protecting walls. They were
an educated and enlightened people. So far as written
history goes, they were the first engineers, the first
astronomers, the first mathematicians, the first financiers
and the first people to have a written language.

Mention has already been made of the irrigation systems
which transformed the arid valley into an agricultural
paradise. The remains of these canals can still be traced,
although they are mostly filled with accumulated sand.
Some of them were of such size that, when empty of water,
a dozen horses could be ridden abreast along their bottoms.
In size they compare favorably with the largest canals in
Colorado and Utah.

In addition to irrigating the valley lands, Babylonian
engineers completed another project of similar magnitude.
By means of an elaborate drainage system they reclaimed
an immense area of swamp land at the mouths of the
Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and put this also under

Herodotus, the Greek traveler and historian, visited
Babylon while it was in its prime and has given us the only
known description by an outsider. His writings give a
graphic description of the city and some of the unusual
customs of its people. He mentions the remarkable fertility
of the soil and the bountiful harvest of wheat and barley
which they produced.

The glory of Babylon has faded but its wisdom has been
preserved for us. For this we are indebted to their form of
records. In that distant day, the use of paper had not been
invented. Instead, they laboriously engraved their writing
upon tablets of moist clay. When completed, these were
baked and became hard tile. In size, they were about six by
eight inches, and an inch in thickness.

These clay tablets, as they are commonly called, were used
much as we use modern forms of writing. Upon them were
engraved legends, poetry, history, transcriptions of royal
decrees, the laws of the land, titles to property, promissory
notes and even letters which were dispatched by
messengers to distant cities. From these clay tablets we are
permitted an insight into the intimate, personal affairs of
the people. For example, one tablet, evidently from the
records of a country storekeeper, relates that upon the given
date a certain named customer brought in a cow and
exchanged it for seven sacks of wheat, three being
delivered at the time and the other four to await the
customer's pleasure.

Safely buried in the wrecked cities, archaeologists have
recovered entire libraries of these tablets, hundreds of
thousands of them.

One of the outstanding wonders of Babylon was the
immense walls surrounding the city. The ancients ranked
them with the great pyramid of Egypt as belonging to the
"seven wonders of the world." Queen Semiramis is credited
with having erected the first walls during the early history
of the city. Modern excavators have been unable to find
any trace of the original walls. Nor is their exact height
known. From mention made by early writers, it is estimated
they were about fifty to sixty feet high, faced on the outer
side with burnt brick and further protected by a deep moat
of water.

The later and more famous walls were started about six
hundred years before the time of Christ by King
Nabopolassar. Upon such a gigantic scale did he plan the
rebuilding, he did not live to see the work finished. This
was left to his son, Nebuchadnezzar, whose name is
familiar in Biblical history.

The height and length of these later walls staggers belief.
They are reported upon reliable authority to have been
about one hundred and sixty feet high, the equivalent of the
height of a modern fifteen story office building. The total
length is estimated as between nine and eleven miles. So
wide was the top that a six-horse chariot could be driven
around them. Of this tremendous structure, little now
remains except portions of the foundations and the moat. In
addition to the ravages of the elements, the Arabs
completed the destruction by quarrying the brick for
building purposes elsewhere.

Against the walls of Babylon marched, in turn, the
victorious armies of almost every conqueror of that age of
wars of conquest. A host of kings laid siege to Babylon, but
always in vain. Invading armies of that day were not to be
considered lightly. Historians speak of such units as 10,000
horsemen, 25,000 chariots, 1200 regiments of foot soldiers
with 1000 men to the regiment. Often two or three years of
preparation would be required to assemble war materials
and depots of food along the proposed line of march.

The city of Babylon was organized much like a modern
city. There were streets and shops. Peddlers offered their
wares through residential districts. Priests officiated in
magnificent temples. Within the city was an inner
enclosure for the royal palaces. The walls about this were
said to have been higher than those about the city.

The Babylonians were skilled in the arts. These included
sculpture, painting, weaving, gold working and the
manufacture of metal weapons and agricultural
implements. Their Jewelers created most artistic jewelry.
Many samples have been recovered from the graves of its
wealthy citizens and are now on exhibition in the leading
museums of the world.

At a very early period when the rest of the world was still
hacking at trees with stone-headed axes, or hunting and
fighting with flint-pointed spears and arrows, the
Babylonians were using axes, spears and arrows with metal

The Babylonians were clever financiers and traders. So far
as we know, they were the original inventors of money as a
means of exchange, of promissory notes and written titles
to property.

Babylon was never entered by hostile armies until about
540 years before the birth of Christ. Even then the walls
were not captured. The story of the fall of Babylon is most
unusual. Cyrus, one of the great conquerors of that period,
intended to attack the city and hoped to take its
impregnable walls. Advisors of Nabonidus, the King of
Babylon, persuaded him to go forth to meet Cyrus and give
him battle without waiting for the city to be besieged. In
the succeeding defeat to the Babylonian army, it fled away
from the city. Cyrus, thereupon, entered the open gates and
took possession without resistance.

Thereafter the power and prestige of the city gradually
waned until, in the course of a few hundred years, it was
eventually abandoned, deserted, left for the winds and
storms to level once again to that desert earth from which
its grandeur had originally been built. Babylon had fallen,
never to rise again, but to it civilization owes much.

The eons of time have crumbled to dust the proud walls of
its temples, but the wisdom of Babylon endures.

Money is the medium by which earthly success is

Money makes possible the enjoyment of the best the earth

Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple
laws which govern its acquisition.

Money is governed today by the same laws which
controlled it when prosperous men thronged the streets of
Babylon, six thousand years ago.

             The Man Who Desired Gold
Bansir, the chariot builder of Babylon, was thoroughly
discouraged. From his seat upon the low wall surrounding
his property, he gazed sadly at his simple home and the
open workshop in which stood a partially completed

His wife frequently appeared at the open door. Her furtive
glances in his direction reminded him that the meal bag was
almost empty and he should be at work finishing the
chariot, hammering and hewing, polishing and painting,
stretching taut the leather over the wheel rims, preparing it
for delivery so he could collect from his wealthy customer.

Nevertheless, his fat, muscular body sat stolidly upon the
wall. His slow mind was struggling patiently with a
problem for which he could find no answer. The hot,
tropical sun, so typical of this valley of the Euphrates, beat
down upon him mercilessly. Beads of perspiration formed
upon his brow and trickled down unnoticed to lose
themselves in tie hairy jungle on his chest.

Beyond his home towered the high terraced wall
surrounding the king's palace. Nearby, cleaving the blue
heavens, was the painted tower of the Temple of Bel. In the
shadow of such grandeur was his simple home and many
others far less neat and well cared for. Babylon was like
this—a mixture of grandeur and squalor, of dazzling wealth
and direst poverty, crowded together without plan or
system within the protecting walls of the city.

Behind him, had he cared to turn and look, the noisy
chariots of the rich jostled and crowded aside the sandaled
tradesmen as well as the barefooted beggars. Even the rich
were forced to turn into the gutters to clear the way for the
long lines of slave water carriers, on the "King's Business,"
each bearing a heavy goatskin of water to be poured upon
the hanging gardens.

Bansir was too engrossed in his own problem to hear or
heed the confused hubbub of the busy city. It was the
unexpected twanging of the strings from a familiar lyre that
aroused him from his reverie. He turned and looked into the
sensitive, smiling face of his best friend—Kobbi, the

"May the Gods bless thee with great liberality, my good
friend," began Kobbi with an elaborate salute. "Yet, it does
appear they have already been so generous thou needest not
to labor. I rejoice with thee in thy good fortune. More, I
would even share it with thee. Pray, from thy purse which
must be bulging else thou wouldst be busy in your shop,
extract but two humble shekels and lend them to me until
after the noblemen's feast this night. Thou wilt not miss
them ere they are returned."

"If I did have two shekels," Bansir responded gloomily, "to
no one could I lend them—not even to you, my best of
friends; for they would be my fortune—my entire fortune.
No one lends his entire fortune, not even to his best friend."

"What," exclaimed Kobbi with genuine surprise, "Thou
hast not one shekel in thy purse, yet sit like a statue upon a
wall! Why not complete that chariot? How else canst thou
provide for thy noble appetite? Tis not like thee, my friend.
Where is thy endless energy? Doth something distress
thee? Have the Gods brought to thee troubles?"

"A torment from the Gods it must be," Bansir agreed. "It
began with a dream, a senseless dream, in which I thought I
was a man of means. From my belt hung a handsome purse,
heavy with coins. There were shekels which I cast with
careless freedom to the beggars; there were pieces of silver
with which I did buy finery for my wife and whatever I did
desire for myself; there were pieces of gold which made me
feel assured of the future and unafraid to spend the silver. A
glorious feeling of contentment was within me! You would
not have known me for thy hardworking friend. Nor
wouldst have known my wife, so free from wrinkles was
her face and shining with happiness. She was again the
smiling maiden of our early married days."

"A pleasant dream, indeed," commented Kobbi, "but why
should such pleasant feelings as it aroused turn thee into a
glum statue upon the wall?"

"Why, indeed! Because when I awoke and remembered
how empty was my purse, a feeling of rebellion swept over
me. Let us talk it over together, for, as the sailors do say,
we ride in the same boat, we two. As youngsters, we went
together to the priests to learn wisdom. As young men, we
shared each other's pleasures. As grown men, we have
always been close friends. We have been contented
subjects of our kind. We have been satisfied to work long
hours and spend our earnings freely. We have earned much
coin in the years that have passed, yet to know the joys that
come from wealth, we must dream about them. Bah! Are
we more than dumb sheep? We live in the richest city in all
the world. The travelers do say none equals it in wealth.
About us is much display of wealth, but of it we ourselves
have naught. After half a lifetime of hard labor, thou, my
best of friends, hast an empty purse and sayest to me, "May
I borrow such a trifle as two shekels until after the
noblemen's feast this night?" Then, what do I reply? Do I
say, "Here is my purse; its contents will I gladly share?' No,
I admit that my purse is as empty as thine. What is the
matter? Why cannot we acquire silver and gold—more than
enough for food and robes?

"Consider, also, our sons," Bansir continued, "are they not
following in the footsteps of their fathers? Need they and
their families and their sons and their sons' families live all
their lives in the midst of such treasurers of gold, and yet,
like us, be content to banquet upon sour goat's milk and

"Never, in all the years of our friendship, didst thou talk
like this before, Bansir." Kobbi was puzzled.

"Never in all those years did I think like this before. From
early dawn until darkness stopped me, I have labored to
build the finest chariots any man could make, soft-
heartedly hoping some day the Gods would recognize my
worthy deeds and bestow upon me great prosperity. This
they have never done. At last, I realize this they will never
do. Therefore, my heart is sad. I wish to be a man of means.
I wish to own lands and cattle, to have fine robes and coins
in my purse. I am willing to work for these things with all
the strength in my back, with all the skill in my hands, with
all the cunning in my mind, but I wish my labors to be
fairly rewarded. What is the matter with us? Again I ask
you! Why cannot we have our just share of the good things
so plentiful for those who have the gold with which to buy

"Would I knew an answer!" Kobbi replied. "No better than
thou am I satisfied. My earnings from my lyre are quickly
gone. Often must I plan and scheme that my family be not
hungry. Also, within my breast is a deep longing for a lyre
large enough that it may truly sing the strains of music that
do surge through my mind. With such an instrument could I
make music finer than even the king has heard before."

"Such a lyre thou shouldst have. No man in all Babylon
could make it sing more sweetly; could make it sing so
sweetly, not only the king but the Gods themselves would
be delighted. But how mayest thou secure it while we both
of us are as poor as the king's slaves? Listen to the bell!
Here they come." He pointed to the long column of half
naked, sweating water bearers plodding laboriously up the
narrow street from the river. Five abreast they marched,
each bent under a heavy goatskin of water.

"A fine figure of a man, he who doth lead them." Kobbi
indicated the wearer of the bell who marched in front
without a load. "A prominent man in his own country, 'tis
easy to see."

"There are many good figures in the line," Bansir agreed,
"as good men as we. Tall, blond men from the north,
laughing black men from the south, little brown men from
the nearer countries. All marching together from the river
to the gardens, back and forth, day after day, year after
year. Naught of happiness to look forward to. Beds of straw
upon which to sleep—hard grain porridge to eat. Pity the
poor brutes, Kobbi!"

"Pity them I do. Yet, thou dost make me see how little
better off are we, free men though we call ourselves."

That is truth, Kobbi, unpleasant thought though it be. We
do not wish to go on year after year living slavish lives.
Working, working, working! Getting nowhere."

"Might we not find out how others acquire gold and do as
they do?" Kobbi inquired.

Perhaps there is some secret we might learn if we but
sought from those who knew," replied Bansir thoughtfully.

This very day," suggested Kobbi, "I did pass our old friend,
Arkad, riding in his golden chariot. This I will say, he did
not look over my humble head as many in his station might
consider his right. Instead, he did wave his hand that all

onlookers might see him pay greetings and bestow his
smile of friendship upon Kobbi, the musician."

"He is claimed to be the richest man in all Babylon," Bansir

"So rich the king is said to seek his golden aid in affairs of
the treasury," Kobbi replied.

"So rich," Bansir interrupted, "I fear if I should meet him in
the darkness of the night, I should lay my hands upon his
fat wallet"

"Nonsense," reproved Kobbi, "a man's wealth is not in the
purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there be no
golden stream to refill it. Arkad has an income that
constantly keeps his purse full, no matter how liberally he

"Income, that is the thing," ejaculated Bansir. "I wish an
income that will keep flowing into my purse whether I sit
upon the wall or travel to far lands. Arkad must know how
a man can make an income for himself. Dost suppose it is
something he could make clear to a mind as slow as mine?"

"Methinks he did teach his knowledge to his son,
Nomasir," Kobbi responded. "Did he not go to Nineveh
and, so it is told at the inn, become, without aid from his
father, one of the richest men in that city?"

"Kobbi, thou bringest to me a rare thought." A new light
gleamed in Bansir's eyes. "It costs nothing to ask wise
advice from a good friend and Arkad was always that.
Never mind though our purses be as empty as the falcon's
nest of a year ago. Let that not detain us. We are weary of
being without gold in the midst of plenty. We wish to
become men of means. Come, let us go to Arkad and ask

how we, also, may acquire incomes for ourselves."

Thou speakest with true inspiration, Bansir. Thou bringeth
to my mind a new understanding. Thou makest me to
realize the reason why we have never found any measure of
wealth. We never sought it. Thou hast labored patiently to
build the staunchest chariots in Babylon. To that purpose
was devoted your best endeavors. Therefore, at it thou didst
succeed. I strove to become a skillful lyre player. And, at it
I did succeed.

"In those things toward which we exerted our best
endeavors we succeeded. The Gods were content to let us
continue thus. Now, at last, we see a light, bright like that
from the rising sun. It biddeth us to learn more that we may
prosper more. With a new understanding we shall find
honorable ways to accomplish our desires."

"Let us go to Arkad this very day," Bansir urged, "Also, let
us ask other friends of our boyhood days, who have fared
no better than ourselves, to join us that they, too, may share
in his wisdom."

"Thou wert ever thus thoughtful of thy friends, Bansir.
Therefore hast thou many friends. It shall be as thou sayest.
We go this day and take them with us."

            The Richest Man in Babylon
In old Babylon there once lived a certain very rich man
named Arkad. Far and wide he was famed for his great
wealth. Also was be famed for his liberality. He was
generous in his charities. He was generous with his family.
He was liberal in his own expenses. But nevertheless each
year his wealth increased more rapidly than he spent it.

And there were certain friends of younger days who came
to him and said: "You, Arkad, are more fortunate than we.
You have become the richest man in all Babylon while we
struggle for existence. You can wear the finest garments
and you can enjoy the rarest foods, while we must be
content if we can clothe our families in raiment that is
presentable and feed them as best we can.

"Yet, once we were equal. We studied under the same
master. We played in the same games. And in neither the
studies nor the games did you outshine us. And in the years
since, you have been no more an honorable citizen than we.

"Nor have you worked harder or more faithfully, insofar as
we can judge. Why, then, should a fickle fate single you
out to enjoy all the good things of life and ignore us who
are equally deserving?"

Thereupon Arkad remonstrated with them, saying, "If you
have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years
since we were youths, it is because you either have failed to
learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else
you do not observe them.

" 'Fickle Fate' is a vicious goddess who brings no
permanent good to anyone. On the contrary, she brings ruin
to almost every man upon whom she showers unearned
gold. She makes wanton spenders, who soon dissipate all
they receive and are left beset by overwhelming appetites
and desires they have not the ability to gratify. Yet others
whom she favors become misers and hoard their wealth,
fearing to spend what they have, knowing they do not
possess the ability to replace it. They further are beset by
fear of robbers and doom themselves to lives of emptiness
and secret misery.

"Others there probably are, who can take unearned gold
and add to it and continue to be happy and contented
citizens. But so few are they, I know of them but by
hearsay. Think you of the men who have inherited sudden
wealth, and see if these things are not so."

His friends admitted that of the men they knew who had
inherited wealth these words were true, and they besought
him to explain to them how he had become possessed of so
much prosperity, so he continued:

"In my youth I looked about me and saw all the good things
there were to bring happiness and contentment. And I
realized that wealth increased the potency of all these.

"Wealth is a power. With wealth many things are possible.

"One may ornament the home with the richest of

"One may sail the distant seas.

"One may feast on the delicacies of far lands.

"One may buy the ornaments of the gold worker and the
stone polisher.

"One may even build mighty temples for the Gods.

"One may do all these things and many others in which
there is delight for the senses and gratification for the soul.

"And, when I realized all this, I decided to myself that I
would claim my share of the good things of life. I would
not be one of those who stand afar off, enviously watching
others enjoy. I would not be content to clothe myself in the
cheapest raiment that looked respectable. I would not be
satisfied with the lot of a poor man. On the contrary, I
would make myself a guest at this banquet of good things.

"Being, as you know, the son of a humble merchant, one of
a large family with no hope of an inheritance, and not being
endowed, as you have so frankly said, with superior powers
or wisdom, I decided that if I was to achieve what I desired,
time and study would be required.

"As for time, all men have it in abundance. You, each of
you, have let slip by sufficient time to have made
yourselves wealthy. Yet, you admit; you have nothing to
show except your good families, of which you can be justly

"As for study, did not our wise teacher teach us that
learning was of two kinds: the one kind being the things we
learned and knew, and the other being the training that
taught us how to find out what we did not know?

"Therefore did I decide to find out how one might
accumulate wealth, and when I had found out, to make this
my task and do it well. For, is it not wise that we should
enjoy while we dwell in the brightness of the sunshine, for
sorrows enough shall descend upon us when we depart for
the darkness of the world of spirit?

"I found employment as a scribe in the hall of records, and
long hours each day I labored upon the clay tablets. Week
after week, and month after month, I labored, yet for my
earnings I had naught to show. Food and clothing and
penance to the gods, and other things of which I could
remember not what, absorbed all my earnings. But my
determination did not leave me.

"And one day Algamish, the money lender, came to the
house of the city master and ordered a copy of the Ninth
Law, and he said to me, I must have this in two days, and if
the task is done by that time, two coppers will I give to

"So I labored hard, but the law was long, and when
Algamish returned the task was unfinished. He was angry,
and had I been his slave, he would have beaten me. But
knowing the city master would not permit him to injure me,
I was unafraid, so I said to him, 'Algamish, you are a very
rich man. Tell me how I may also become rich, and all
night I will carve upon the clay, and when the sun rises it
shall be completed.'

"He smiled at me and replied, 'You are a forward knave,
but we will call it a bargain.'

"All that night I carved, though my back pained and the
smell of the wick made my head ache until my eyes could
hardly see. But when he returned at sunup, the tablets were

" 'Now,' I said, 'tell me what you promised.'

" 'You have fulfilled your part of our bargain, my son,' he
said to me kindly, 'and I am ready to fulfill mine. I will tell
you these things you wish to know because I am becoming
an old man, and an old tongue loves to wag. And when
youth comes to age for advice he receives the wisdom of
years. But too often does youth think that age knows only
the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not.
But remember this, the sun that shines today is the sun that
shone when thy father was born, and will still be shining
when thy last grandchild shall pass into the darkness.

" 'The thoughts of youth,' he continued, 'are bright lights
that shine forth like the meteors that oft make brilliant the
sky, but the wisdom of age is like the fixed stars that shine
so unchanged that the sailor may depend upon them to steer
his course.

" 'Mark you well my words, for if you do not you will fail
to grasp the truth that I will tell you, and you will think that
your night's work has been in vain.'

"Then he looked at me shrewdly from under his shaggy
brows and said in a low, forceful tone, 'I found the road to
wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine
to keep. And so will you.'

"Then he continued to look at me with a glance that I could
feel pierce me but said no more.

" 'Is that all?' I asked.

" 'That was sufficient to change the heart of a sheep herder
into the heart of a money lender,' he replied.

" 'But all I earn is mine to keep, is it not?' I demanded.

" 'Far from it,' he replied. 'Do you not pay the garment-
maker? Do you not pay the sandal-maker? Do you not pay
for the things you eat? Can you live in Babylon without
spending? What have you to show for your earnings of the
past mouth? What for the past year? Fool! You pay to
everyone but yourself. Dullard, you labor for others. As
well be a slave and work for what your master gives you to
eat and wear. If you did keep for yourself one-tenth of all

you earn, how much would you have in ten years?'

"My knowledge of the numbers did not forsake me, and I
answered, 'As much as I earn in one year.'

" 'You speak but half the truth,' he retorted. 'Every gold
piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it
earns is its child that also can earn for you. If you would
become wealthy, then what you save must earn, and its
children must earn, that all may help to give to you the
abundance you crave.

" 'You think I cheat you for your long night's work,' he
continued, 'but I am paying you a thousand times over if
you have the intelligence to grasp the truth I offer you.

" 'A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be not
less than a tenth no matter how little you earn. It can be as
much more as you can afford. Pay yourself first. Do not
buy from the clothes-maker and the sandal-maker more
than you can pay out of the rest and still have enough for
food and charity and penance to the gods.

" 'Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first
copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth
shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall
the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and
water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you
bask in contentment beneath its shade.'

"So saying, he took his tablets and went away.

"I thought much about what he had said to me, and it
seemed reasonable. So I decided that I would try it. Each
time I was paid I took one from each ten pieces of copper
and hid it away. And strange as it may seem, I was no
shorter of funds, than before. I noticed little difference as I

managed to get along without it. But often I was tempted,
as my hoard began to grow, to spend it for some of the
good things the merchants displayed, brought by camels
and ships from the land of the Phoenicians. But I wisely

"A twelfth month after Algamish had gone he again
returned and said to me, 'Son, have you paid to yourself not
less than one-tenth of all you have earned for the past year?'

"I answered proudly, 'Yes, master, I have.'

" 'That is good,' he answered beaming upon me, 'and what
have you done with it?'

" 'I have given it to Azmur, the brickmaker, who told me he
was traveling over the far seas and in Tyre he would buy
for me the rare jewels of the Phoenicians. When he returns
we shall sell these at high prices and divide the earnings.'

" 'Every fool must learn,' he growled, 'but why trust the
knowledge of a brickmaker about jewels? Would you go to
the breadmaker to inquire about the stars? No, by my tunic,
you would go to the astrologer, if you had power to think.
Your savings are gone, youth, you have jerked your wealth-
tree up by the roots. But plant another. Try again. And next
time if you would have advice about jewels, go to the jewel
merchant. If you would know the truth about sheep, go to
the herdsman. Advice is one thing that is freely given away,
but watch that you take only what is worth having. He who
takes advice about his savings from one who is
inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his savings
for proving the falsity of their opinions.' Saying this, he
went away.

"And it was as he said. For the Phoenicians are scoundrels
and sold to Azmur worthless bits of glass that looked like
gems. But as Algamish had bid me, I again saved each
tenth copper, for I now had formed the habit and it was no
longer difficult.

"Again, twelve months later, Algamish came to the room of
the scribes and addressed me. 'What progress have you
made since last I saw you?'

" 'I have paid myself faithfully,' I replied, 'and my savings I
have entrusted to Agger the shieldmaker, to buy bronze,
and each fourth month he does pay me the rental.'

" 'That is good. And what do you do with the rental?'

" 'I do have a great feast with honey and fine wine and
spiced cake. Also I have bought me a scarlet tunic. And
some day I shall buy me a young ass upon which to ride.'

"To which Algamish laughed, 'You do eat the children of
your savings. Then how do you expect them to work for
you? And how can they have children that will also work
for you? First get thee an army of golden slaves and then
many a rich banquet may you enjoy without regret.' So
saying he again went away.

"Nor did I again see him for two years, when he once more
returned and his face was full of deep lines and his eyes
drooped, for he was becoming a very old man. And he said
to me, 'Arkad, hast thou yet achieved the wealth thou
dreamed of?'

"And I answered, 'Not yet all that I desire, but some I have
and it earns more, and its earnings earn more.'

" 'And do you still take the advice of brickmakers?'

" 'About brickmaking they give good advice,' I retorted.

" 'Arkad,' he continued, 'you have learned your lessons
well. You first learned to live upon less than you could
earn. Next you learned to seek advice from those who were
competent through their own experiences to give it. And,
lastly, you have learned to make gold work for you.

" 'You have taught yourself how to acquire money, how to
keep it, and how to use it. Therefore, you are competent for
a responsible position. I am becoming an old man. My sons
think only of spending and give no thought to earning. My
interests are great and I fear too much for me to look after.
If you will go to Nippur and look after my lands there, I
shall make you my partner and you shall share in my

"So I went to Nippur and took charge of his holdings,
which were large. And because I was full of ambition and
because I had mastered the three laws of successfully
handling wealth, I was enabled to increase greatly the value
of his properties. So I prospered much, and when the spirit
of Algamish departed for the sphere of darkness, I did share
in his estate as he had arranged under the law."

So spake Arkad, and when he had finished his tale, one of
his friends said, "You were indeed fortunate that Algamish
made of you an heir."

"Fortunate only in that I had the desire to prosper before I
first met him. For four years did I not prove my
definiteness of purpose by keeping one-tenth of all earned?
Would you call a fisherman lucky who for years so studied
the habits of the fish that with each changing wind he could
cast his nets about them? Opportunity is a haughty goddess
who wastes no time with those who are unprepared."

"You had strong will power to keep on after you lost your
first year's savings. You are unusual in that way," spoke up

"Will power!" retorted Arkad. "What nonsense. Do you
think will power gives a man the strength to lift a burden
the camel cannot carry, or to draw a load the oxen cannot
budge? Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a
task you set for yourself to fulfillment. If I set for myself a
task, be it ever so trifling, I shall see it through. How else
shall I have confidence in myself to do important things?
Should I say to myself, 'For a hundred days as I walk across
the bridge into the city, I will pick from the road a pebble
and cast it into the stream,' I would do it. If on the seventh
day I passed by without remembering, I would not say to
myself, Tomorrow I will cast two pebbles which will do as
well.' Instead, I would retrace my steps and cast the pebble.
Nor on the twentieth day would I say to myself, 'Arkad, this
is useless. What does it avail you to cast a pebble every
day? Throw in a handful and be done with it.' No, I would
not say that nor do it. When I set a task for myself, I
complete it. Therefore, I am careful not to start difficult and
impractical tasks, because I love leisure."

And then another friend spoke up and said, "If what you
tell is true, and it does seem as you have said, reasonable,
then being so simple, if all men did it, there would not be
enough wealth to go around."

"Wealth grows wherever men exert energy," Arkad replied.
"If a rich man builds him a new palace, is the gold he pays
out gone? No, the brickmaker has part of it and the laborer
has part of it, and the artist has part of it. And everyone
who labors upon the house has part of it Yet when the
palace is completed, is it not worth all it cost? And is the
ground upon which it stands not worth more because it is
there? And is the ground that adjoins it not worth more
because it is there? Wealth grows in magic ways. No man
can prophesy the limit of it. Have not the Phoenicians built
great cities on barren coasts with the wealth that comes
from their ships of commerce on the seas?"

"What then do you advise us to do that we also may
become rich?" asked still another of his friends. "The years
have passed and we are no longer young men and we have
nothing put by."

"I advise that you take the wisdom of Algamish and say to
yourselves, 'A part of all I earn is mine to keep.' Say it in
the morning when you first arise. Say it at noon. Say it at
night. Say it each hour of every day. Say it to yourself until
the words stand out like letters of fire across the sky.

"Impress yourself with the idea. Fill yourself with the
thought. Then take whatever portion seems wise. Let it be
not less than one-tenth and lay it by. Arrange your other
expenditures to do this if necessary. But lay by that portion
first. Soon you will realize what a rich feeling it is to own a
treasure upon which you alone have claim. As it grows it
will stimulate you. A new joy of life will thrill you. Greater
efforts will come to you to earn more. For of your increased
earnings, will not the same percentage be also yours to

"Then learn to make your treasure work for you. Make it
your slave. Make its children and its children's children
work for you.

"Insure an income for thy future. Look thou at the aged and
forget not that in the days to come thou also will be
numbered among them. Therefore invest thy treasure with
greatest caution that it be not lost. Usurious rates of return
are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon
the rocks of loss and remorse.

"Provide also that thy family may not want should the Gods
call thee to their realms. For such protection it is always
possible to make provision with small payments at regular
intervals. Therefore the provident man delays not in
expectation of a large sum becoming available for such a
wise purpose.

"Counsel with wise men. Seek the advice of men whose
daily work is handling money. Let them save you from
such an error as I myself made in entrusting my money to
the judgment of Azmur, the brickmaker. A small return and
a safe one is far more desirable than risk.

"Enjoy life while you are here. Do not overstrain or try to
save too much. If one-tenth of all you earn is as much as
you can comfortably keep, be content to keep this portion.
Live otherwise according to your income and let not
yourself get niggardly and afraid to spend. Life is good and
life is rich with things worthwhile and things to enjoy."

His friends thanked him and went away. Some were silent
because they had no imagination and could not understand.
Some were sarcastic because they thought that one so rich
should divide with old friends not so fortunate. But some
had in their eyes a new light. They realized that Algamish
had come back each time to the room of the scribes because
he was watching a man work his way out of darkness into
light. When that man had found the light, a place awaited
him. No one could fill that place until he had for himself
worked out his own understanding, until he was ready for

These latter were the ones, who, in the following years,
frequently revisited Arkad, who received them gladly. He
counseled with them and gave them freely of his wisdom as
men of broad experience are always glad to do. And he
assisted them in so investing their savings that it would
bring in a good interest with safety and would neither be
lost nor entangled in investments that paid no dividends.

The turning point in these men's lives came upon that day
when they realized the truth that had come from Algamish
to Arkad and from Arkad to them.


            Seven Cures For a Lean Purse
The glory of Babylon endures. Down through the ages its
reputation comes to us as the richest of cities, its treasures
as fabulous.

Yet it was not always so. The riches of Babylon were the
results of the wisdom of its people. They first had to learn
how to become wealthy.

When the Good King, Sargon, returned to Babylon after
defeating his enemies, the Elamites, he was confronted with
a serious situation. The Royal Chancellor explained it to
the King thus:

"After many years of great prosperity brought to our people
because your majesty built the great irrigation canals and
the mighty temples of the Gods, now that these works are
completed the people seem unable to support themselves.

"The laborers are without employment. The merchants
have few customers. The farmers are unable to sell their
produce. The people have not enough gold to buy food."

"But where has all the gold gone that we spent for these
great improvements?" demanded the King.

"It has found its way, I fear," responded the Chancellor,
"into the possession of a few very rich men of our city. It
filtered through the fingers of most our people as quickly as
the goat's milk goes through the strainer. Now that the
stream of gold has ceased to flow, most of our people have
nothing to for their earnings."

The King was thoughtful for some time. Then he asked,
"Why should so few men be able to acquire all the gold?"

"Because they know how," replied the Chancellor. "One
may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows
how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man
what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability."

"But why," demanded the King, "should not all the people
learn how to accumulate gold and therefore become
themselves rich and prosperous?"

Quite possible, your excellency. But who can teach them?
Certainly not the priests, because they know naught of
money making."

"Who knows best in all our city how to become wealthy,
Chancellor?" asked the King.

"Thy question answers itself, your majesty. Who has
amassed the greatest wealth, in Babylon?"

"Well said, my able Chancellor. It is Arkad. He is richest
man in Babylon. Bring him before me on the morrow."

Upon the following day, as the King had decreed, Arkad
appeared before him, straight and sprightly despite his three
score years and ten.

"Arkad," spoke the King, "is it true thou art the richest man
in Babylon?"

"So it is reported, your majesty, and no man disputes it"

"How becamest thou so wealthy?"

"By taking advantage of opportunities available to all
citizens of our good city."

"Thou hadst nothing to start with?"

"Only a great desire for wealth. Besides this, nothing."

"Arkad," continued the King, "our city is in a very unhappy
state because a few men know how to acquire wealth and
therefore monopolize it, while the mass of our citizens lack
the knowledge of how to keep any part of the gold they

"It is my desire that Babylon be the wealthiest city in the
world. Therefore, it must be a city of many wealthy men.
Therefore, we must teach all the people how to acquire
riches. Tell me, Arkad, is there any secret to acquiring
wealth? Can it be taught?"

"It is practical, your majesty. That which one man knows
can be taught to others."

The king's eyes glowed. "Arkad, thou speaketh the words I
wish to hear. Wilt thou lend thyself to this great cause?
Wilt thou teach thy knowledge to a school for teachers,
each of whom shall teach others until there are enough
trained to teach these truths to every worthy subject in my

Arkad bowed and said, "I am thy humble servant to
command. Whatever knowledge I possess will I gladly give
for the betterment of my fellowmen and the glory of my
King. Let your good chancellor arrange for me a class of
one hundred men and I will teach to them those seven cures
which did fatten my purse, than which there was none
leaner in all Babylon."

A fortnight later, in compliance with the King's command,
the chosen hundred assembled in the great hall of the
Temple of Learning, seated upon colorful rings in a
semicircle. Arkad sat beside a small taboret upon which
smoked a sacred lamp sending forth a strange and pleasing

"Behold the richest man in Babylon," whispered a student,
nudging his neighbor as Arkad arose. "He is but a man
even as the rest of us."

"As a dutiful subject of our great King," Arkad began, "I
stand before you in his service. Because once I was a poor
youth who did greatly desire gold, and because I found
knowledge that enabled me to acquire it, he asks that I
impart unto you my knowledge.

"I started my fortune in the humblest way. I had no
advantage not enjoyed as fully by you and every citizen in

"The first storehouse of my treasure was a well-purse. I
loathed its useless emptiness. I desired it be round and full,
clinking with the sound of gold. Therefore, I sought every
remedy for a lean purse. I found seven.

"To you, who are assembled before me, shall I explain the
seven cures for a lean purse which I do recommend to all
men who desire much gold. Each day for seven days will I
explain to you one of the seven remedies.

"Listen attentively to the knowledge that I will impart.
Debate it with me. Discuss it among yourselves. Learn
these lessons thoroughly, that ye may also plant in your
own purse the seed of wealth. First must each of you start
wisely to build a fortune of his own. Then wilt thou be
competent, and only then, to teach these truths to others.

"I shall teach to you in simple ways how to fatten your
purses. This is the first step leading to the temple of wealth,
and no man may climb who cannot plant his feet firmly
upon the first step.

"We shall now consider the first cure."

                    THE FIRST CURE

                Start thy purse to fattening

Arkad addressed a thoughtful man in the second row. "My
good friend, at what craft workest thou?"

"I," replied the man, "am a scribe and carve records upon
the clay tablets."

"Even at such labor did I myself earn my first coppers.
Therefore, thou hast the same opportunity to build a

He spoke to a florid-faced man, farther back. "Pray tell also
what dost thou to earn thy bread?"

"I," responded this man, "am a meat butcher. I do buy the
goats the farmers raise and kill them and sell the meat to
the housewives and the hides to the sandal makers."

"Because thou dost also labor and earn, thou hast every
advantage to succeed that I did possess."

In this way did Arkad proceed to find out how each man
labored to earn his living. When he had done questioning
them, he said:

"Now, my students, ye can see that there are many trades
and labors at which men may earn coins. Each of the ways
of earning is a stream of gold from which the worker doth
divert by his labors a portion to his own purse. Therefore
into the purse of each of you flows a stream of coins large
or small according to his ability. Is it not so?"

Thereupon they agreed that it was so. "Then," continued
Arkad, "if each of you desireth to build for himself a
fortune, is it not wise to start by utilizing that source of
wealth which he already has established?"

To this they agreed.

Then Arkad turned to a humble man who had declared
himself an egg merchant. "If thou select one of thy baskets
and put into it each morning ten eggs and take out from it
each evening nine eggs, what will eventually happen?"

"It will become in time overflowing."


"Because each day I put in one more egg than I take out."

Arkad turned to the class with a smile. "Does any man here
have a lean purse?"

First they looked amused. Then they laughed. Lastly they
waved their purses in jest.

"All right," he continued, "Now I shall tell thee the first
remedy I learned to cure a lean purse. Do exactly as I have
suggested to the egg merchant. For every ten coins thou
placest within thy purse take out for use but nine. Thy purse
will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will
feel good in thy hand and bring satisfaction to thy soul.

"Deride not what I say because of its simplicity. Truth is
always simple. I told thee I would tell how built my
fortune. This was my beginning. I, too, carried a lean purse
and cursed it because there was naught within to satisfy my
desires. But when I began to take out from my purse but
nine parts of ten I put in, it began to fatten. So will thine.

"Now I will tell a strange truth, the reason for which I know
not. When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my
earnings, I managed to get along just as well. I was not
shorter than before. Also, ere long, did coins come to me
more easily than before. Surely it is a law of the Gods that
unto him who keepeth and spendeth not a certain part of all
his earnings, shall gold come more easily. Likewise, him
whose purse is empty does gold avoid.

"Which desirest thou the most? Is it the gratification of thy
desires of each day, a jewel, a bit of finery, better raiment,
more food; things quickly gone and forgotten? Or is it
substantial belongings, gold, lands, herds, merchandise,
income-bringing investments? The coins thou takest from
thy purse bring the first. The coins thou leavest within it
will bring the latter.

"This, my students, was the first cure I did discover for my
lean purse: 'For each ten coins I put in, to spend but nine.'
Debate this amongst yourselves. If any man proves it
untrue, tell me upon the morrow when we shall meet

                  THE SECOND CURE

                 Control thy expenditures

"Some of your members, my students, have asked me this:
How can a man keep one-tenth of all he earns in his purse
when all the coins he earns are not enough for his necessary
expenses?" So did Arkad address his students upon the
second day.

"Yesterday how many of thee carried lean purses?"

"All of us," answered the class.
"Yet, thou do not all earn the same. Some earn much more
than others. Some have much larger families to support.
Yet, all purses were equally lean. Now I will tell thee an
unusual truth about men and sons of men. It is this; That
what each of us calls our 'necessary expenses' will always
grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the

"Confuse not the necessary expenses with thy desires. Each
of you, together with your good families, have more desires
than your earnings can gratify. Therefore are thy earnings
spent to gratify these desires insofar as they will go. Still
thou retainest many ungratified desires.

"All men are burdened with more desires than they can
gratify. Because of my wealth thinkest thou I may gratify
every desire? 'Tis a false idea. There are limits to my time.
There are limits to my strength. There are limits to the
distance I may travel. There are limits to what I may eat.
There are limits to the zest with which I may enjoy.

"I say to you that just as weeds grow in a field wherever the
farmer leaves space for their roots, even so freely do
desires grow in men whenever there is a possibility of their
being gratified. Thy desires are a multitude and those that
thou mayest gratify are but few.

"Study thoughtfully thy accustomed habits of living. Herein
may be most often found certain accepted expenses that
may wisely be reduced or eliminated. Let thy motto be one
hundred percent of appreciated value demanded for each
coin spent.

"Therefore, engrave upon the clay each thing for which
thou desireth to spend. Select those that are necessary and
others that are possible through the expenditure of nine-
tenths of thy income. Cross out the rest and consider them
but a part of that great multitude of desires that must go
unsatisfied and regret them not.

"Budget then thy necessary expenses. Touch not the one-
tenth that is fattening thy purse. Let this be thy great desire
that is being fulfilled. Keep working with thy budget, keep
adjusting it to help thee. Make it thy first assistant in
defending thy fattening purse."

Hereupon one of the students, wearing a robe of red and
gold, arose and said, "I am a free man. I believe that it is
my right to enjoy the good things of life. Therefore do I
rebel against the slavery of a budget which determines just
how much I may spend and for what. I feel it would take
much pleasure from my life and make me little more than a
pack-ass to carry a burden."

To him Arkad replied, "Who, my friend, would determine
thy budget?"

"I would make it for myself," responded the protesting one.

"In that case were a pack-ass to budget his burden would he
include therein jewels and rugs and heavy bars of gold? Not
so. He would include hay and grain and a bag of water for
the desert trail.

"The purpose of a budget is to help thy purse to fatten. It is
to assist thee to have thy necessities and, insofar as
attainable, thy other desires. It is to enable thee to realize
thy most cherished desires by defending them from thy
casual wishes. Like a bright light in a dark cave thy budget
shows up the leaks from thy purse and enables thee to stop
them and control thy expenditures for definite and
gratifying purposes.

"This, then, is the second cure for a lean purse. Budget thy

expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy
necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy
worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths
of thy earnings."

                    THE THIRD CURE

                  Make thy gold multiply

"Behold thy lean purse is fattening. Thou hast disciplined
thyself to leave therein one-tenth of all thou earneth. Thou
hast controlled thy expenditures to protect thy growing
treasure. Next, we will consider means to put thy treasure
to labor and to increase. Gold in a purse is gratifying to
own and satisfieth a miserly soul but earns nothing. The
gold we may retain from our earnings is but the start. The
earnings it will make shall build our fortunes." So spoke
Arkad upon the third day to his class.

"How therefore may we put our gold to work? My first
investment was unfortunate, for I lost all. Its tale I will
relate later. My first profitable investment was a loan I
made to a man named Aggar, a shield maker. Once each
year did he buy large shipments of bronze brought from
across the sea to use in his trade. Lacking sufficient capital
to pay the merchants, he would borrow from those who had
extra coins. He was an honorable man. His borrowing he
would repay, together with a liberal rental, as he sold his

"Each time I loaned to him I loaned back also the rental he
had paid to me. Therefore not only did my capital increase,
but its earnings likewise increased. Most gratifying was it
to have these sums return to my purse.

"I tell you, my students, a man's wealth is not in the coins
he carries in his purse; it is the income he buildeth, the
golden stream that continually floweth into his purse and
keepeth it always bulging. That is what every man desireth.
That is what thou, each one of thee desireth; an income that
continueth to come whether thou work or travel.

"Great income I have acquired. So great that I am called a
very rich man. My loans to Aggar were my first training in
profitable investment. Gaining wisdom from this
experience, I extended my loans and investments as my
capital increased. From a few sources at first, from many
sources later, flowed into my purse a golden stream of
wealth available for such wise uses as I should decide.

"Behold, from my humble earnings I had begotten a hoard
of golden slaves, each laboring and earning more gold. As
they labored for me, so their children also labored and their
children's children until great was the income from their
combined efforts.

"Gold increaseth rapidly when making reasonable earnings
as thou wilt see from the following: A farmer, when his
first son was born, took ten pieces of silver to a money
lender and asked him to keep it on rental for his son until
he became twenty years of age. This the money lender did,
and agreed the rental should be one-fourth of its value each
four years. The farmer asked, because this sum he had set
aside as belonging to his son, that the rental be add to the

"When the boy had reached the age of twenty years, the
farmer again went to the money lender to inquire about the
silver. The money lender explained that because this sum
had been increased by compound interest, the original ten
pieces of silver had now grown to thirty and one-half

"The farmer was well pleased and because the son did not
need the coins, he left them with the money lender. When
the son became fifty years of age, the father meantime
having passed to the other world, the money lender paid the
son in settlement one hundred and sixty-seven pieces of
"Thus in fifty years had the investment multiplied itself at
rental almost seventeen times.

"This, then, is the third cure for a lean purse: to put each
coin to laboring that it may reproduce its kind even as the
flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream
of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse."

                  THE FOURTH CURE

              Guard thy treasures from loss

"Misfortune loves a shining mark. Gold in a man's purse
must be guarded with firmness, else it be lost. Thus it is
wise that we must first secure small amounts and learn to
protect them before the Gods entrust us with larger." So
spoke Arkad upon the fourth day to his class.

"Every owner of gold is tempted by opportunities whereby
it would seem that he could make large sums by its
investment in most plausible projects. Often friends and
relatives are eagerly entering such investment and urge him
to follow.

"The first sound principle of investment is security for thy
principal. Is it wise to be intrigued by larger earnings when
thy principal may be lost? I say not. The penalty of risk is
probable loss. Study carefully, before parting with thy
treasure, each assurance that it may be safely reclaimed. Be
not misled by thine own romantic desires to make wealth

"Before thou loan it to any man assure thyself of his ability
to repay and his reputation for doing so, that thou mayest
not unwittingly be making him a present of thy hard-earned

"Before thou entrust it as an investment in any field
acquaint thyself with the dangers which may beset it.

"My own first investment was a tragedy to me at the time.
The guarded savings of a year I did entrust to a brickmaker,
named Azmur, who was traveling over the far seas and in
Tyre agreed to buy for me the rare jewels of the
Phoenicians. These we would sell upon his return and
divide the profits. The Phoenicians were scoundrels and
sold him bits of glass. My treasure was lost. Today, my
training would show to me at once the folly of entrusting a
brickmaker to buy jewels.

"Therefore, do I advise thee from the wisdom of my
experiences: be not too confident of thine own wisdom in
entrusting thy treasures to the possible pitfalls of
investments. Better by far to consult the wisdom of those
experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is
freely given for the asking and may readily possess a value
equal in gold to the sum thou considerest investing. In
truth, such is its actual value if it save thee from loss.

"This, then, is the fourth cure for a lean purse, and of great
importance if it prevent thy purse from being emptied once
it has become well filled. Guard thy treasure from loss by
investing only where thy principal is safe, where it may be
reclaimed if desirable, and where thou will not fail to
collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the
advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of
gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe

                   THE FIFTH CURE

       Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment

"If a man setteth aside nine parts of his earnings upon
which to live and enjoy life, and if any part of this nine
parts he can turn into a profitable investment without
detriment to his wellbeing, then so much faster will his
treasures grow." So spake Arkad to his class at their fifth

"All too many of our men of Babylon do raise their families
in unseemly quarters. They do pay to exacting landlords
liberal rentals for rooms where their wives have not a spot
to raise the blooms that gladden a woman's heart and their
children have no place to play their games except in the
unclean alleys.

"No man's family can fully enjoy life unless they do have a
plot of ground wherein children can play in the clean earth
and where the wife may raise not only blossoms but good
rich herbs to feed her family.

"To a man's heart it brings gladness to eat the figs from his
own trees and the grapes of his own vines. To own his own
domicile and to have it a place he is proud to care for,
putteth confidence in his heart and greater effort behind all
his endeavors. Therefore, do I recommend that every man
own the roof that sheltereth him and his.

"Nor is it beyond the ability of any well intentioned man to
own his home. Hath not our great king so widely extended
the walls of Babylon that within them much land is now

unused and may be purchased at sums most reasonable?

"Also I say to you, my students, that the money lenders
gladly consider the desires of men who seek homes and
land for their families. Readily may thou borrow to pay the
brickmaker and the builder for such commendable
purposes, if thou can show a reasonable portion of the
necessary sum which thou thyself hath provided for the

"Then when the house be built, thou canst pay the money
lender with the same regularity as thou didst pay the
landlord. Because each payment will reduce thy
indebtedness to the money lender, a few years will satisfy
his loan.

"Then will thy heart be glad because thou wilt own in thy
own right a valuable property and thy only cost will be the
king's taxes.

"Also wilt thy good wife go more often to the river to wash
thy robes, that each time returning she may bring a goatskin
of water to pour upon the growing things.

"Thus come many blessings to the man who owneth his
own house. And greatly will it reduce his cost of living,
making available more of his earnings for pleasures and the
gratification of his desires. This, then, is the fifth cure for a
lean purse: Own thy own home"

                     THE SIXTH CURE

                   Insure a future income

"The life of every man proceedeth from his childhood to
his old age. This is the path of life and no man may deviate

from it unless the Gods call him prematurely to the world
beyond. Therefore do I say that it behooves a man to make
preparation for a suitable income in the days to come,
when he is no longer young, and to make preparations for
his family should he be no longer with them to comfort and
support them. This lesson shall instruct thee in providing a
full purse when time has made thee less able to learn." So
Arkad addressed his class upon the sixth day.

"The man who, because of his understanding of the laws of
wealth, acquireth a growing surplus, should give thought to
those future days. He should plan certain investments or
provision that may endure safely for many years, yet will
be available when the time arrives which he has so wisely

"There are diverse ways by which a man may provide with
safety for his future. He may provide a hiding place and
there bury a secret treasure. Yet, no matter with what skill
it be hidden, it may nevertheless become the loot of
thieves. For this reason I recommend not this plan.

"A man may buy houses or lands for this purpose. If wisely
chosen as to their usefulness and value in the future, they
are permanent in their value and their earnings or their sale
will provide well for his purpose.

"A man may loan a small sum to the money lender and
increase it at regular periods. The rental which the money
lender adds to this will largely add to its increase. I do
know a sandal maker, named Ansan, who explained to me
not long ago that each week for eight years he had
deposited with his money lender two pieces of silver. The
money lender had but recently given him an accounting
over which he greatly rejoiced. The total of his small
deposits with their rental at the customary rate of one-
fourth their value for each four years, had now become a
thousand and forty pieces of silver.

"I did gladly encourage him further by demonstrating to
him with my knowledge of the numbers that in twelve
years more, if he would keep his regular deposits of but
two pieces of silver each week, the money lender would
then owe him four thousand pieces of silver, a worthy
competence for the rest of his life.

"Surely, when such a small payment made with regularity
doth produce such profitable results, no man can afford not
to insure a treasure for his old age and the protection of his
family, no matter how prosperous his business and his
investments may be.

"I would that I might say more about this. In my mind rests
a belief that some day wise-thinking men will devise a plan
to insure against death whereby many men pay in but a
trifling sum regularly, the aggregate making a handsome
sum for the family of each member who passeth to the
beyond. This do I see as something desirable and which I
could highly recommend. But today it is not possible
because it must reach beyond the life of any man or any
partnership to operate. It must be as stable as the King's
throne. Some day do I feel that such a plan shall come to
pass and be a great blessing to many men, because even the
first small payment will make available a snug fortune for
the family of a member should he pass on.

"But because we live in our own day and not in the days
which are to come, must we take advantage of those means
and ways of accomplishing our purposes. Therefore do I
recommend to all men, that they, by wise and well thought
out methods, do provide against a lean purse in their mature
years. For a lean purse to a man no longer able to earn or to
a family without its head is a sore tragedy.

"This, then, is the sixth cure for a lean purse. Provide in
advance for the needs of thy growing age and the
protection of thy family."

                 THE SEVENTH CURE

                Increase thy ability to earn

"This day do I speak to thee, my students, of one of the
most vital remedies for a lean purse. Yet, I will talk not of
gold but of yourselves, of the men beneath the robes of
many colors who do sit before me. I will talk to you of
those things within the minds and lives of men which do
work for or against their success." So did Arkad address his
class upon the seventh day.

"Not long ago came to me a young man seeking to borrow.
When I questioned him the cause of his necessity, he
complained that his earnings were insufficient to pay his
expenses. Thereupon I explained to him, this being the
case, he was a poor customer for the money lender, as he
possessed no surplus earning capacity to repay the loan.

" 'What you need, young man,' I told him, 'is to earn more
coins. What dost thou to increase thy capacity to earn?'

" 'All that I can do' he replied. 'Six times within two moons
have I approached my master to request my pay be
increased, but without success. No man can go oftener than

"We may smile at his simplicity, yet he did possess one of
the vital requirements to increase his earnings. Within him
was a strong desire to earn more, a proper and
commendable desire.

"Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires
must be strong and definite. General desires are but weak
longings. For a man to wish to be rich is of little purpose.
For a man to desire five pieces of gold is a tangible desire
which he can press to fulfillment. After he has backed his
desire for five pieces of gold with strength of purpose to
secure it, next he can find similar ways to obtain ten pieces
and then twenty pieces and later a thousand pieces and,
behold, he has become wealthy. In learning to secure his
one definite small desire, he hath trained himself to secure
a larger one. This is the process by which wealth is
accumulated: first in small sums, then in larger ones as a
man learns and becomes more capable.

"Desires must be simple and definite. They defeat their
own purpose should they be too many, too confusing, or
beyond a man's training to accomplish.

"As a man perfecteth himself in his calling even so doth his
ability to earn increase. In those days when I was a humble
scribe carving upon the clay for a few coppers each day, I
observed that other workers did more than I and were paid
more. Therefore, did I determine that I would be exceeded
by none. Nor did it take long for me to discover the reason
for their greater success. More interest in my work, more
concentration upon my task, more persistence in my effort,
and, behold, few men could carve more tablets in a day
than I. With reasonable promptness my increased skill was
rewarded, nor was it necessary for me to go six times to my
master to request recognition.

"The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn.
That man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be
richly rewarded. If he is an artisan, he may seek to learn the
methods and the tools of those most skillful in the same
line. If he laboreth at the law or at healing, he may consult
and exchange knowledge with others of his calling. If he be
a merchant, he may continually seek better goods that can
be purchased at lower prices.

"Always do the affairs of man change and improve because
keen-minded men seek greater skill that they may better
serve those upon whose patronage they depend. Therefore,
I urge all men to be in the front rank of progress and not to
stand still, lest they be left behind.

"Many things come to make a man's life rich with gainful
experiences. Such things as the following, a man must do if
he respect himself:

"He must pay his debts with all the promptness within his
power, not purchasing that for which he is unable to pay.

"He must take care of his family that they may think and
speak well of him.

"He must make a will of record that, in case the Gods call
him, proper and honorable division of his property be

"He must have compassion upon those who are injured and
smitten by misfortune and aid them within reasonable
limits. He must do deeds of thoughtfulness to those dear to

"Thus the seventh and last remedy for a lean purse is to
cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to
become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself.
Thereby shalt thou acquire confidence in thy self to achieve
thy carefully considered desires.

"These then are the seven cures for a lean purse, which, out
of the experience of a long and successful life, I do urge for
all men who desire wealth.

"There is more gold in Babylon, my students, than thou
dreamest of. There is abundance for all.

"Go thou forth and practice these truths that thou mayest
prosper and grow wealthy, as is thy right.

"Go thou forth and teach these truths that every honorable
subject of his majesty may also share liberally in the ample
wealth of our beloved city."

          Meet the Goddess of Good Luck
"If a man be lucky, there is no foretelling the possible
extent of his good fortune. Pitch him into the Euphrates and
like as not he will swim out with a pearl in his hand."
                                      —Babylonian Proverb.

The desire to be lucky is universal. It was just as strong in
the breasts of men four thousand years ago in ancient
Babylon as it is in the hearts of men today. We all hope to
be favored by the whimsical Goddess of Good Luck. Is
there some way we can meet her and attract, not only her
favorable attention, but her generous favors?

Is there a way to attract good luck?

That is just what the men of ancient Babylon wished to
know. It is exactly what they decided to find out. They
were shrewd men and keen thinkers. That explains why
their city became the richest and most powerful city of their

In that distant past, they had no schools or colleges.
Nevertheless they had a center of learning and a very
practical one it was. Among the towered buildings in
Babylon was one that ranked in importance with the Palace
of the King, the Hanging Gardens and the temples of the
Gods. You will find scant mention of it in the history
books, more likely no mention at all, yet it exerted a
powerful influence upon the thought of that time.

This building was the Temple of Learning where the
wisdom of the past was expounded by voluntary teachers
and where subjects of popular interest were discussed in
open forums. Within its walls all men met as equals. The
humblest of slaves could dispute with impunity the

opinions of a prince of the royal house.

Among the many who frequented the Temple of Learning,
was a wise rich man named Arkad, called the richest man
in Babylon. He had his own special hall where almost any
evening a large group of men, some old, some very young,
but mostly middle-aged, gathered to discuss and argue
interesting subjects. Suppose we listen in to see whether
they knew how to attract good luck.

The sun had just set like a great red ball of fire shining
through the haze of desert dust when Arkad strolled to his
accustomed platform. Already full four score men were
awaiting his arrival, reclining on their small rugs spread
upon the floor. More were still arriving.

"What shall we discuss this night?" Arkad inquired.

After a brief hesitation, a tall cloth weaver addressed him,
arising as was the custom. "I have a subject I would like to
hear discussed yet hesitate to offer lest it seem ridiculous to
you, Arkad, and my good friends here."

Upon being urged to offer it, both by Arkad and by calls
from the others, he continued: "This day I have been lucky,
for I have found a purse in which there are pieces of gold.
To continue to be lucky is my great desire. Feeling that all
men share with me this desire, I do suggest we debate how
to attract good luck that we may discover ways it can be
enticed to one."

"A most interesting subject has been offered, Arkad
commented, "one most worthy of our discussion. To some
men, good luck bespeaks but a chance happening that, like
an accident, may befall one without purpose or reason.
Others do believe that the instigator of all good fortune is
our most bounteous goddess, Ashtar, ever anxious to
reward with generous gifts those who please her. Speak up,
my friends, what say you, shall we seek to find if there be
means by which good luck may be enticed to visit each and
all of us?"

"Yea! Yea! And much of it!" responded the growing group
of eager listeners.

Thereupon Arkad continued, "To start our discussion, let us
first hear from those among us who have enjoyed
experiences similar to that of the cloth weaver in finding or
receiving, without effort upon their part, valuable treasures
or jewels."

There was a pause in which all looked about expecting
someone to reply but no one did.

"What, no one?" Arkad said, "then rare indeed must be this
kind of good luck. Who now will offer a suggestion as to
where we shall continue our search?"

That I will do," spoke a well-robed young man, arising.
"When a man speaketh of luck is it not natural that his
thoughts turn to the gaining tables? Is it not there we find
many men courting the favor of the goddess in hope she
will bless them with rich winnings?"

As he resumed his seat a voice called, "Do not stop!
Continue thy story! Tell us, didst thou find favor with the
goddess at the gaming tables? Did she turn the cubes with
red side up so thou filled thy purse at the dealer's expense
or did she permit the blue sides to come up so the dealer
raked in thy hard-earned pieces of silver?"

The young man joined the good-natured laughter, then
replied, "I am not averse to admitting she seemed not to
know I was even there. But how about the rest of you?

Have you found her waiting about such places to roll the
cubes, in your favor? We are eager to hear as well as to

"A wise start," broke in Arkad. "We meet here to consider
all sides of each question. To ignore the gaming table
would be to overlook an instinct common to most men, the
love of taking a chance with a small amount of silver in the
hope of winning much gold."

"That doth remind me of the races but yesterday," called
out another listener. "If the goddess frequents the gaming
tables, certainly she dost not overlook the races where the
gilded chariots and the foaming horses offer far more
excitement. Tell us honestly, Arkad, didst she whisper to
you to place your bet upon those grey horses from Nineveh
yesterday? I was standing just behind thee and could scarce
believe my ears when I heard thee place thy bet upon the
greys. Thou knowest as well as any of us that no team in all
Assyria can beat our beloved bays in a fair race.

"Didst the goddess whisper in thy ear to bet upon the greys
because at the last turn the inside black would stumble and
so interfere with our bays that the greys would win the race
and score an unearned victory?"

Arkad smiled indulgently at the banter. "What reason have
we to feel the good goddess would take that much interest
in any man's bet upon a horse race? To me she is a goddess
of love and dignity whose pleasure it is to aid those who
are in need and to reward those who are deserving. I look to
find her, not at the gaming tables or the races where men
lose more gold than they win but in other places where the
doings of men are more worthwhile and more worthy of

"In tilling the soil, in honest trading, in all of man's
occupations, there is opportunity to make a profit upon his
efforts and his transactions. Perhaps not all the time will he
be rewarded because sometimes his judgment may be
faulty and other times the winds and the weather may
defeat his efforts. Yet, if he persists, he may usually expect
to realize his profit. This is so because the chances of profit
are always in his favor.

"But, when a man playeth the games, the situation is
reversed for the chances of profit are always against him
and always in favor of the game keeper. The game is so
arranged that it will always favor the keeper. It is his
business at which he plans to make a liberal profit for
himself from the coins bet by the players. Few players
realize how certain are the game keeper's profits and how
uncertain are their own chances to win.

"For example, let us consider wagers placed upon the cube.
Each time it is cast we bet which side will be uppermost. If
it be the red side the game master pays to us four times our
bet. But if any other of the five sides come uppermost, we
lose our bet. Thus the figures show that for each cast we
have five chances to lose, but because the red pays four for
one, we have four chances to win. In a night's play the
game master can expect to keep for his profit one-fifth of
all the coins wagered. Can a man expect to win more than
occasionally against odds so arranged that he should lose
one-fifth of all his bets?"

"Yet some men do win large sums at times," volunteered
one of the listeners.

"Quite so, they do," Arkad continued. "Realizing this, the
question comes to me whether money secured in such ways
brings permanent value to those who are thus lucky.
Among my acquaintances are many of the successful men
of Babylon, yet among them I am unable to name a single
one who started his success from such a source.

"You who are gathered here tonight know many more of
our substantial citizens. To me it would be of much interest
to learn how many of our successful citizens can credit the
gaming tables with their start to success. Suppose each of
you tell of those you know. What say you?"

After a prolonged silence, a wag ventured, 'Wouldst thy
inquiry include the game keepers?"

"If you think of no one else," Arkad responded. "If not one
of you can think of anyone else, then how about
yourselves? Are there any consistent winners with us who
hesitate to advise such a source for their incomes?"

His challenge was answered by a series of groans from the
rear taken up and spread amid much laughter.
"It would seem we are not seeking good luck in such places
as the goddess frequents," he continued. "Therefore let us
explore other fields. We have not found it in picking up lost
wallets. Neither have we found it haunting the gaming
tables. As to the races, I must confess to have lost far more
coins there than I have ever won.

"Now, suppose we consider our trades and businesses. Is it
not natural if we conclude a profitable transaction to
consider it not good luck but a just reward for our efforts? I
am inclined to think we may be overlooking the gifts of the
goddess. Perhaps she really does assist us when we do not
appreciate her generosity. Who can suggest further

Thereupon an elderly merchant arose, smoothing his
genteel white robe. "With thy permission, most honorable
Arkad and my friends, I offer a suggestion. If, as you have
said, we take credit to our own industry and ability for our
business success, why not consider the successes we almost
enjoyed but which escaped us, happenings which would
have been most profitable. They would have been rare
examples of good luck if they had actually happened.
Because they were not brought to fulfillment we cannot
consider them as our just rewards. Surely many men here
have such experiences to relate."

"Here is a wise approach," Arkad approved. "Who among
you have had good luck within your grasp only to see it

Many hands were raised, among them that of the merchant.
Arkad motioned to him to speak. "As you suggested this
approach, we should like to hear first from you."

"I will gladly relate a tale," he resumed, "that doth illustrate
how closely unto a man good luck may approach and how
blindly he may permit it to escape, much to his loss and
later regret.

"Many years ago, when I was a young man, just married
and well-started to earning, my father did come one day
and urge most strongly that I enter in an investment. The
son of one of his good friends had taken notice of a barren
tract of land not far beyond the outer walls of our city. It
lay high above the canal where no water could reach it.

"The son of my father's friend devised a plan to purchase
this land, build three large water wheels that could be
operated by oxen and thereby raise the life-giving waters to
the fertile soil. This accomplished, he planned to divide
into small tracts and sell to the residents of the city for herb

"The son of my father's friend did not possess sufficient
gold to complete such an undertaking. Like myself, he was
a young man earning a fair sum. His father, like mine, was
a man of large family and small means. He, therefore,
decided to interest a group of men to enter the enterprise
with him. The group was to comprise twelve, each of
whom must be a money earner and agree to pay one-tenth
of his earnings into the enterprise until the land was made
ready for sale. All would then share justly in the profits in
proportion to their investment.

" 'Thou, my son,' bespoke my father unto me, 'art now in
thy young manhood. It is my deep desire that thou begin
the building of a valuable estate for myself that thou mayest
become respected among men. I desire to see thou profit
from a knowledge of the thoughtless mistakes of thy

" 'This do I most ardently desire, my father,' I replied.

" 'Then, this do I advise. Do what I should have done at thy
age. From thy earnings keep out one-tenth to put into
favorable investments. With this one-tenth of thy earnings
and what it will also earn, thou canst, before thou art my
age, accumulate for thyself a valuable estate.'

" 'Thy words are words of wisdom, my father. Greatly do I
desire riches. Yet there are many uses to which my
earnings are called. Therefore, do I hesitate to do as thou
dost advise. I am young. There is plenty of time.'

" 'So I thought at thy age, yet behold, many years have
passed and I have not yet made the beginning.'

" 'We live in a different age, my father. I shall avoid thy

" 'Opportunity stands before thee, my son. It is offering a

chance that may lead to wealth. I beg of thee, do not delay.
Go upon the morrow to the son of my friend and bargain
with him to pay ten percent of thy earnings into this
investment. Go promptly upon the morrow. Opportunity
waits for no man. Today it is here; soon it is gone.
Therefore, delay not!'

"In spite of the advice of my father, I did hesitate. There
were beautiful new robes just brought by the tradesmen
from the East, robes of such richness and beauty my good
wife and I felt we must each possess one. Should I agree to
pay one-tenth of my earnings into the enterprise, we must
deprive ourselves of these and other pleasures we dearly
desired. I delayed making a decision until it was too late,
much to my subsequent regret. The enterprise did prove to
be more profitable than any man had prophesied. This is
my tale, showing how I did permit good luck to escape."

"In this tale we see how good luck waits to come to that
man who accepts opportunity," commented a swarthy man
of the desert. "To the building of an estate there must
always be the beginning. That start may be a few pieces of
gold or silver which a man diverts from his earnings to his
first investment. I, myself, am the owner of many herds.
The start of my herds I did begin when I was a mere boy
and did purchase with one piece of silver a young calf.
This, being the beginning of my wealth, was of great
importance to me.

"To take his first start to building an estate is as good luck
as can come to any man. With all men, that first step, which
changes them from men who earn from their own labor to
men who draw dividends from the earnings of their gold, is
important. Some, fortunately, take it when young and
thereby outstrip in financial success those who do take it
later or those unfortunate men, like the father of this
merchant, who never take it.
"Had our friend, the merchant, taken this step in his early
manhood when this opportunity came to him, this day he
would be blessed with much more of this world's goods.
Should the good luck of our friend, the cloth weaver, cause
him to take such a step at this time, it will indeed be but the
beginning of much greater good fortune."

"Thank you! I like to speak, also." A stranger from another
country arose. "I am a Syrian. Not so well do I speak your
tongue. I wish to call this friend, the merchant, a name.
Maybe you think it not polite, this name. Yet I wish to call
him that. But, alas, I not know your word for it. If I do call
it in Syrian, you will not understand. Therefore, please
some good gentlemen, tell me that right name you call man
who puts off doing those things that mighty good for him."

"Procrastinator," called a voice.

"That's him," shouted the Syrian, waving his hands
excitedly, "he accepts not opportunity when she comes. He
waits. He says I have much business right now. Bye and
bye I talk to you. Opportunity, she will not wait for such
slow fellow. She thinks if a man desires to be lucky he will
step quick. Any man not step quick when opportunity
comes, he big procrastinator like our friend, this merchant."

The merchant arose and bowed good naturedly in response
to the laughter. "My admiration to thee, stranger within our
gates, who hesitates not to speak the truth."

"And now let us hear another tale of opportunity. Who has
for us another experience?" demanded Arkad.

"I have," responded a red-robed man of middle age. "I am a
buyer of animals, mostly camels and horses. Sometimes I
do also buy the sheep and goats. The tale I am about to

relate will tell truthfully how opportunity came one night
when I did least expect it. Perhaps for this reason I did let it
escape. Of this you shall be the judge.

"Returning to the city one evening after a disheartening ten-
days' journey in search of camels, I was much angered to
find the gates of the city closed and locked. While my
slaves spread our tent for the night, which we looked to
spend with little food and no I water, I was approached by
an elderly farmer who, like ourselves, found himself locked

" 'Honored sir,' he addressed me, 'from thy appearance, I do
judge thee to be a buyer. If this be so, much would I like to
sell to thee the most excellent flock of sheep just driven up.
Alas, my good wife lies very sick with the fever. I must
return with all haste. Buy thou my sheep that I and my
slaves may mount our camels and travel back without

"So dark it was that I could not see his flock, but from the
bleating I did know it must be large. Having wasted ten
days searching for camels I could not find, I was glad to
bargain with him. In his anxiety, he did set a most
reasonable price. I accepted, well knowing my slaves could
drive the flock through the city gates in the morning and
sell at a substantial profit.

The bargain concluded, I called my slaves to bring torches
that we might count the flock which the farmer declared to
contain nine hundred. I shall not burden you, my friends,
with a description of our difficulty in attempting to count
so many thirsty, restless, milling sheep. It proved to be an
impossible task. Therefore, I bluntly informed the farmer I
would count them at daylight and pay him then.

" 'Please, most honorable sir,' he pleaded, 'pay me but two-
thirds of the price tonight that I may be on my way. I will
leave my most intelligent and educated slave to assist to
make the count in the morning. He is trustworthy and to
him thou canst pay the balance.'

"But I was stubborn and refused to make payment that
night. Next morning, before I awoke, the city gates opened
and four buyers rushed out in search of flocks. They were
most eager and willing to pay high prices because the city
was threatened with siege, and food was not plentiful.
Nearly three times the price at which he had offered the
flock to me did the old farmer receive for it. Thus was rare
good luck allowed to escape."

"Here is a tale most unusual," commented Arkad. "What
wisdom doth it suggest?"

"The wisdom of making a payment immediately when we
are convinced our bargain is wise," suggested a venerable
saddle maker. "If the bargain be good, then dost thou need
protection against thy own weaknesses as much as against
any other man. We mortals are changeable. Alas, I must
say more apt to change our minds when right than wrong.
Wrong, we are stubborn indeed. Right, we are prone to
vacillate and let opportunity escape. My first judgment is
my best. Yet always have I found it difficult to compel
myself to proceed with a good bargain when made.
Therefore, as a protection against my own weaknesses, I do
make a prompt deposit thereon. This doth save me from
later regrets for the good luck that should have been mine."

"Thank you! Again I like to speak." The Syrian was upon
his feet once more. "These tales much alike. Each time
opportunity fly away for same reason. Each time she come
to procrastinator, bringing good plan. Each time they
hesitate, not say, right now best time, I do it quick. How
can men succeed that way?"
"Wise are thy words, my friend," responded the buyer.
"Good luck fled from procrastination in both these tales.
Yet, this is not unusual. The spirit of procrastination is
within all men. We desire riches; yet, how often when
opportunity doth appear before us, that spirit of
procrastination from within doth urge various delays in our
acceptance. In listening to it we do become our own worst

"In my younger days I did not know it by this long word
our friend from Syria doth enjoy. I did think at first it was
my own poor judgment that did cause me loss of many
profitable trades. Later, I did credit it to my stubborn
disposition. At last, I did recognize it for what it was—a
habit of needless delaying where action was required,
action prompt and decisive. How I did hate it when its true
character stood revealed. With the bitterness of a wild ass
hitched to a chariot, I did break loose from this enemy to
my success."

"Thank you! I like ask question from Mr. Merchant." The
Syrian was speaking. "You wear fine robes, not like those
of poor man. You speak like successful man. Tell us, do
you listen now when procrastination whispers in your ear?"

"Like our friend the buyer, I also had to recognize and
conquer procrastination," responded the merchant. "To me,
it proved to be an enemy, ever watching and waiting to
thwart my accomplishments. The tale I did relate is but one
of many similar instances I could tell to show how it drove
away my opportunities. Tis not difficult to conquer, once
understood. No man willingly permits the thief to rob his
bins of grain. Nor does any man willingly permit an enemy
to drive away his customers and rob him of his profits.
When once I did recognize that such acts as these my
enemy was committing, with determination I conquered
him. So must every man master his own spirit of
procrastination before he can expect to share in the rich
treasures of Babylon.

"What sayest, Arkad? Because thou art the richest man in
Babylon, many do proclaim thee to be the luckiest. Dost
agree with me that no man can arrive at a full measure of
success until he hath completely crushed the spirit of
procrastination within him?"

"It is even as thou sayest," Arkad admitted. "During my
long life I have watched generation following generation,
marching forward along those avenues of trade, science and
learning that lead to success in life. Opportunities came to
all these men. Some grasped theirs and moved steadily to
the gratification of their deepest desires, but the majority
hesitated, faltered and fell behind."

Arkad turned to the cloth weaver. Thou didst suggest that
we debate good luck. Let us hear what thou now thinkest
upon the subject."

"I do see good luck in a different light. I had thought of it
as something most desirable that might happen to a man
without effort upon his part. Now, I do realize such
happenings are not the sort of thing one may attract to
himself. From our discussion have I learned that to attract
good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of
opportunities. Therefore, in the future, I shall endeavor to
make the best of such opportunities as do come to me."

"Thou hast well grasped the truths brought forth in our
discussion," Arkad replied. "Good luck, we do find, often
follows opportunity but seldom comes otherwise. Our
merchant friend would have found great good luck had he
accepted the opportunity the good goddess did present to
him. Our friend the buyer, likewise, would have enjoyed
good luck had he completed the purchase of the flock and
sold at such a handsome profit.

"We did pursue this discussion to find a means by which
good luck could be enticed to us. I feel that we have found
the way. Both the tales did illustrate how good luck follows
opportunity. Herein lies a truth that many similar tales of
good luck, won or lost, could not change. The truth is this:
Good luck can be enticed by accepting opportunity.

"Those eager to grasp opportunities for their betterment, do
attract the interest of the good goddess. She is ever anxious
to aid those who please her. Men of action please her best
"Action will lead thee forward to the successes thou dost


                The Five Laws of Gold
"A bag heavy with gold or a clay tablet carved with words
of wisdom; if thou hadst thy choice, which wouldst thou

By the flickering light from the fire of desert shrubs, the
sun-tanned faces of the listeners gleamed with interest.

"The gold, the gold," chorused the twenty-seven.

Old Kalabab smiled knowingly.

"Hark," he resumed, raising his hand. "Hear the wild dogs
out there in the night. They howl and wail because they are
lean with hunger. Yet feed them, and what do they? Fight
and strut. Then fight and strut some more, giving no
thought to the morrow that will surely come.

"Just so it is with the sons of men. Give them a choice of
gold and wisdom—what do they do? Ignore the wisdom
and waste the gold. On the morrow they wail because they
have no more gold.

"Gold is reserved for those who know its laws and abide by

Kalabab drew his white robe close about his lean legs, for a
cool night wind was blowing.

"Because thou hast served me faithfully upon our long
journey, because thou cared well for my camels, because
thou toiled uncomplainingly across the hot sands of the
desert, because thou fought bravely the robbers that sought
to despoil my merchandise, I will tell thee this night the
tale of the five laws of gold, such a tale as thou never hast
heard before.

"Hark ye, with deep attention to the words I speak, for if
you grasp their meaning and heed them, in the days that
come thou shalt have much gold."

He paused impressively. Above in a canopy of blue, the
stars shone brightly in the crystal clear skies of Babylonia.
Behind the group loomed their faded tents tightly staked
against possible desert storms. Beside the tents were neatly
stacked bales of merchandise covered with skins. Nearby
the camel herd sprawled in the sand, some chewing their
cuds contentedly, others snoring in hoarse discord.

"Thou hast told us many good tales, Kalabab," spoke up the
chief packer. "We look to thy wisdom to guide us upon the
morrow when our service with thee shall be at an end."

"I have but told thee of my adventures in strange and
distant lands, but this night I shall tell thee of the wisdom
of Arkad, the wise rich man."

"Much have we heard of him," acknowledged the chief
packer, "for he was the richest man that ever lived in

"The richest man he was, and that because be was wise in
the ways of gold, even as no man had ever been before him.
This night shall I tell you of his great wisdom as it was told
to me by Nomasir, his son, many years ago in Nineveh,
when I was but a lad.

"My master and myself had tarried long into the night in
the palace of Nomasir. I had helped my master bring great
bundles of fine rugs, each one to be tried by Nomasir until
his choice of colors was satisfied. At last he was well
pleased and commanded us to sit with him and to drink a
rare vintage odorous to the nostrils and most warming to
my stomach, which was unaccustomed to such a drink.
"Then, did he tell us this tale of the great wisdom of Arkad,
his father, even as I shall tell it to you.

"In Babylon it is the custom, as you know, that the sons of
wealthy fathers live with their parents in expectation of
inheriting the estate. Arkad did not approve of this custom.
Therefore, when Nomasir reached man's estate, he sent for
the young man and addressed him:

" 'My son, it is my desire that thou succeed to my estate.
Thou must, however, first prove that thou art capable of
wisely handling it. Therefore, I wish that thou go out into
the world and show thy ability both to acquire gold and to
make thyself respected among men.

" 'To start thee well, I will give thee two things of which I,
myself, was denied when I started as a poor youth to build
up a fortune.

" 'First, I give thee this bag of gold. If thou use it wisely, it
will be the basis of thy future success.

" 'Second, I give thee this clay tablet upon which is carved
the five laws of gold. If thou dost but interpret them in thy
own acts, they shall bring thee competence and security.

" 'Ten years from this day come thou back to the house of
thy father and give account of thyself. If thou prove worthy,
I will then make thee the heir to my estate. Otherwise, I
will give it to the priests that they may barter for my soul
the land consideration of the gods.'

"So Nomasir went forth to make his own way, taking his
bag of gold, the clay tablet carefully wrapped in silken
cloth, his slave and the horses upon which they rode.

"The ten years passed, and Nomasir, as he had agreed,

returned to the house of his father who provided a great
feast in his honor, to which he invited many friends and
relatives. After the feast was over, the father and mother
mounted their throne-like seats at one side of the great hall,
and Nomasir stood before them to give an account of
himself as he had promised his father.

It was evening. The room was hazy with smoke from the
wicks of the oil lamps that but dimly lighted it. Slaves in
white woven jackets and tunics fanned the humid air
rhythmically with long-stemmed palm leaves. A stately
dignity colored the scene. The wife of Nomasir and his two
young sons, with friends and other members of the family,
sat upon rugs behind him, eager listeners.

" 'My father,' he began deferentially, I bow before thy
wisdom. Ten years ago when I stood at the gates of
manhood, thou bade me go forth and become a man among
men, instead of remaining a vassal to thy fortune.

" 'Thou gave me liberally of thy gold. Thou gave me
liberally of thy wisdom. Of the gold, alas! I must admit of a
disastrous handling. It fled, indeed, from my inexperienced
hands even as a wild hare flees at the first opportunity from
the youth who captures it.'

"The father smiled indulgently. 'Continue, my son, thy tale
interests me in all its details.'

" 'I decided to go to Nineveh, as it was a growing city,
believing that I might find there opportunities. I joined a
caravan and among its members made numerous friends.
Two well-spoken men who had a most beautiful white
horse as fleet as the wind were among these.

" 'As we journeyed, they told me in confidence that in
Nineveh was a wealthy man who owned a horse so swift
that it had never been beaten. Its owner believed that no
horse living could run with greater speed. Therefore, would
he wager any sum however large that his horse could
outspeed any horse in all Babylonia. Compared to their
horse, so my friends said, it was but a lumbering ass that
could be beaten with ease.

" 'They offered, as a great favor, to permit me to join them
in a wager. I was quite carried away with the plan.

" 'Our horse was badly beaten and I lost much of my gold.'
The father laughed. 'Later, I discovered that this was a
deceitful plan of these men and they constantly journeyed
with caravans seeking victims. You see, the man in
Nineveh was their partner and shared with them the bets he
won. This shrewd deceit taught me my first lesson in
looking out for myself.

" 'I was soon to learn another, equally bitter. In the caravan
was another young man with whom I became quite
friendly. He was the son of wealthy parents and, like
myself, journeying to Nineveh to find a suitable location.
Not long after our arrival, he told me that a merchant had
died and his shop with its rich merchandise and patronage
could be secured at a paltry price. Saying that we would be
equal partners but first he must return to Babylon to secure
his gold, he prevailed upon me to purchase the stock with
my gold, agreeing that his would be used later to carry on
our venture.

" 'He long delayed the trip to Babylon, proving in the
meantime to be an unwise buyer and a foolish spender. I
finally put him out, but not before the business had
deteriorated to where we had only unsalable goods and no
gold to buy other goods. I sacrificed what was left to an
Israelite for a pitiful sum.

" 'Soon there followed, I tell you, my father, bitter days. I
sought employment and found it not, for I was without
trade or training that would enable me to earn. I sold my
horses. I sold my slave. I sold my extra robes that I might
have food and a place to sleep, but each day grim want
crouched closer.

" 'But in those bitter days, I remembered thy confidence in
me, my father. Thou hadst sent me forth to become a man,
and this I was determined to accomplish.' The mother
buried her face and wept softly.

" 'At this time, I bethought me of the table thou had given
to me upon which thou had carved the five laws of gold.
Thereupon, I read most carefully thy words of wisdom, and
realized that had I but sought wisdom first, my gold would
not have been lost to me. I learned by heart each law and
determined that, when once more the goddess of good
fortune smiled upon me, I would be guided by the wisdom
of age and not by the inexperience of youth.

" 'For the benefit of you who are seated here this night, I
will read the wisdom of my father as engraved upon the
clay tablet which he gave to me ten years ago:

              THE FIVE LAWS OF GOLD

I. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any
man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings
to create an estate for his future and that of his family.

II. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise
owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying
even as the flocks of the field.

III. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner
who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

IV. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in
businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or
which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.

V. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible
earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters
and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and
romantic desires in investment.

" 'These are the five laws of gold as written by my father. I
do proclaim them as of greater value than gold itself, as I
will show by the continuance of my tale.'

"He again faced his father. 'I have told thee of the depth of
poverty and despair to which my inexperience brought me.

" 'However, there is no chain of disasters that will not come
to an end. Mine came when I secured employment
managing a crew of slaves working upon the new outer
wall of the city.

" 'Profiting from my knowledge of the first law of gold, I
saved a copper from my first earnings, adding to it at every
opportunity until I had a piece of silver. It was a slow
procedure, for one must live. I did spend grudgingly, I
admit, because I was determined to earn back before the ten
years were over as much gold as you, my father, had given
to me.

" 'One day the slave master, with whom I had become quite
friendly, said to me: "Thou art a thrifty youth who spends
not wantonly what he earns. Hast thou gold put by that is
not earning?"

" 'Yes,' I replied, 'It is my greatest desire to accumulate
gold to replace that which my father gave to me and which

I have lost.'

" 'Tis a worthy ambition, I will grant, and do you know that
the gold which you have saved can work for you and earn
much more gold?"

" 'Alas! my experience has been bitter, for my father's gold
has fled from me, and I am in much fear lest my own do the

" 'If thou hast confidence in me, I will give thee a lesson in
the profitable handling of gold," he replied. "Within a year
the outer wall will be complete and ready for the great
gates of bronze that will be built at each entrance to protect
the city from the king's enemies. In all Nineveh there is not
enough metal to make these gates and the king has not
thought to provide it. Here is my plan: A group of us will
pool our gold and send a caravan to the mines of copper
and tin, which are distant, and bring to Nineveh the metal
for the gates. When the king says, 'Make the great gates,'
we alone can supply the metal and a rich price he will pay.
If the king will not buy from us, we will yet have the metal
which can be sold for a fair price."

" 'In his offer I recognized an opportunity to abide by the
third law and invest my savings under the guidance of wise
men. Nor was I disappointed. Our pool was a success, and
my small store of gold was greatly increased by the

" 'In due time, I was accepted as a member of this same
group in other ventures. They were men wise in the
profitable handling of gold. They talked over each plan
presented with great care, before entering upon it. They
would take no chance on losing their principal or tying it up
in unprofitable investments from which their gold could not
be recovered. Such foolish things as the horse race and the
partnership into which I had entered with my inexperience
would have had scant consideration with them. They would
have immediately pointed out their weaknesses.

" 'Through my association with these men, I learned to
safely invest gold to bring profitable returns. As the years
went on, my treasure increased more and more rapidly. I
not only made back as much as I lost, but much more.

" 'Through my misfortunes, my trials and my success, I
have tested time and again the wisdom of the five laws of
gold, my father, and have proven them true in every test.
To him who is without knowledge of the five laws, gold
comes not often, and goeth away quickly. But to him who
abide by the five laws, gold comes and works as his dutiful

"Nomasir ceased speaking and motioned to a slave in the
back of the room. The slave brought forward, one at a time,
three heavy leather bags. One of these Nomasir took and
placed upon the floor before his father addressing him

" 'Thou didst give to me a bag of gold, Babylon gold.
Behold in its place, I do return to thee a bag of Nineveh
gold of equal weight An equal exchange, as all will agree.

" 'Thou didst give to me a clay tablet inscribed with
wisdom. Behold, in its stead, I do return two bags of gold.'
So saying, he took from the slave the other two bags and,
likewise, placed them upon the floor before his father.

" 'This I do to prove to thee, my father, of how much
greater value I consider thy wisdom than thy gold. Yet,
who can measure in bags of gold, the value of wisdom?
Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it,
but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it
not, as these three bags of gold do prove.

" 'It does, indeed, give to me the deepest satisfaction, my
father, to stand before thee and say that, because of thy
wisdom, I have been able to become rich and respected
before men.'

"The father placed his hand fondly upon the head of
Nomasir. 'Thou hast learned well thy lessons, and I am,
indeed, fortunate to have a son to whom I may entrust my
wealth.' "

Kalabab ceased his tale and looked critically at his

"What means this to thee, this tale of Nomasir?" he

"Who amongst thee can go to thy father or to the father of
thy wife and give an account of wise handling of his

"What would these venerable men think were you to say: 'I
have traveled much and learned much and labored much
and earned much, yet alas, of gold I have little. Some I
spent wisely, some I spent foolishly and much I lost in
unwise ways.'

"Dost still think it but an inconsistency of fate that some
men have much gold and others have naught? Then you err.

"Men have much gold when they know the five laws of
gold and abide thereby.

"Because I learned these five laws in my youth and abided
by them, I have become a wealthy merchant. Not by some
strange magic did I accumulate my wealth.

"Wealth that comes quickly goeth the same way.

"Wealth that stayeth to give enjoyment and satisfaction to
its owner comes gradually, because it is a child born of
knowledge and persistent purpose.

"To earn wealth is but a slight burden upon the thoughtful
man. Bearing the burden consistently from year to year
accomplishes the final purpose.

"The five laws of gold offer to thee a rich reward for their

"Each of these five laws is rich with meaning and lest thou
overlook this in the briefness of my tale, I will now repeat
them. I do know them each by heart because in my youth, I
could see their value and would not be content until I knew
them word for word.

                  The First Law of Gold

Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man
who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to
create an estate for his future and that of his family.

"Any man who will put by one-tenth of his earnings
consistently and invest it wisely will surely create a
valuable estate that will provide an income for him in the
future and further guarantee safety for his family in case the
gods call him to the world of darkness. This law always
sayeth that gold cometh gladly to such a man. I can truly
certify this in my own life. The more gold I accumulate, the
more readily it comes to me and in increased quantities.
The gold which I save earns more, even as yours will, and
its earnings earn more, and this is the working out of the
first law."

                 The Second Law of Gold

Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner
who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as
the flocks of the field.

"Gold, indeed, is a willing worker. It is ever eager to
multiply when opportunity presents itself. To every man
who hath a store of gold set by, opportunity comes for its
most profitable use. As the years pass, it multiplies itself in
surprising fashion."

                  The Third Law of Gold

Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who
invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

"Gold, indeed, clingeth to the cautious owner, even as it
flees the careless owner. The man who seeks the advice of
men wise in handling gold soon learneth not to jeopardize
his treasure, but to preserve in safety and to enjoy in
contentment its consistent increase."

                 The Fourth Law of Gold

Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in
businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or
which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.

To the man who hath gold, yet is not skilled in its handling,
many uses for it appear most profitable. Too often these are
fraught with danger of loss, and if properly analyzed by
wise men, show small possibility of profit. Therefore, the
inexperienced owner of gold who trusts to his own
judgment and invests it in business or purposes with which
he is not familiar, too often finds his judgment imperfect,
and pays with his treasure for his inexperience. Wise,
indeed is he who investeth his treasures under the advice of
men skilled In the ways of gold."

                  The Fifth Law of Gold

Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible
earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters
and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and
romantic desires in investment.

"Fanciful propositions that thrill like adventure tales always
come to the new owner of gold. These appear to endow his
treasure with magic powers that will enable it to make
impossible earnings. Yet heed ye the wise men for verily
they know the risks that lurk behind every plan to make
great wealth suddenly.

"Forget not the rich men of Nineveh who would take no
chance of losing their principal or tying it up in
unprofitable investments.

"This ends my tale of the five laws of gold. In telling it to
thee, I have told the secrets of my own success.

"Yet, they are not secrets but truths which every man must
first learn and then follow who wishes to step out of the
multitude that, like you wild dogs, must worry each day for
food to eat.

"Tomorrow, we enter Babylon. Look! See the fire that
burns eternal above the Temple of Bel! We are already in
sight of the golden city. Tomorrow, each of thee shall have
gold, the gold thou has so well earned by thy faithful

"Ten years from this night, what can you tell about this

"If there be men among you, who, like Nomasir, will use a
portion of their gold to start for themselves an estate and be
thenceforth wisely guided by the wisdom of Arkad, ten
years from now, 'tis a safe wager, like the son of Arkad,
they will be rich and respected among men.

"Our wise acts accompany us through life to please us and
to help us. Just as surely, our unwise acts follow us to
plague and torment us. Alas, they cannot be forgotten. In
the front rank of the torments that do follow us are the
memories of the things we should have done, of the
opportunities which came to us and we took not.

"Rich are the treasures of Babylon, so rich no man can
count their value in pieces of gold. Each year, they grow
richer and more valuable. Like the treasures of every land,
they are a reward, a rich reward awaiting those men of
purpose who determine to secure their just share.

"In the strength of thine own desires is a magic power.
Guide this power with thy knowledge of the five laws of
gold and thou shall share the treasures of Babylon."

             The Gold Lender of Babylon
Fifty pieces of gold! Never before had Rodan, the
spearmaker of old Babylon, carried so much gold in his
leather wallet. Happily down the king's highway from the
palace of his most liberal Majesty he strode. Cheerfully the
gold clinked as the wallet at his belt swayed with each
step—the sweetest music he had ever heard.

Fifty pieces of gold! All his! He could hardly realize his
good fortune. What power in those clinking discs! They
could purchase anything he wanted, a grand house, land,
cattle, camels, horses, chariots, whatever he might desire.

What use should he make of it? This evening as he turned
into a side street towards the home of his sister, he could
think of nothing he would rather possess than those same
glittering, heavy pieces of gold—his to keep.

It was upon an evening some days later that a perplexed
Rodan entered the shop of Mathon, the lender of gold and
dealer in jewels and rare fabrics. Glancing neither to the
right nor the left at the colorful articles artfully displayed,
he passed through to the living quarters at the rear. Here he
found the genteel Mathon lounging upon a rug partaking of
a meal served by a black slave.

"I would counsel with thee for I know not what to do."
Rodan stood stolidly, feet apart, hairy breast exposed by the
gaping front of his leather jacket.

Mathon's narrow, sallow face smiled a friendly greeting.
"What indiscretions hast thou done that thou shouldst seek
the lender of gold? Hast been unlucky at the gaming table?
Or hath some plump dame entangled thee? For many years
have I known thee, yet never hast thou sought me to aid
thee in thy troubles."
"No, no. Not such as that. I seek no gold. Instead I crave
thy wise advice."

"Hear! Hear! What this man doth say. No one comes to the
lender of gold for advice. My ears must play me false."

"They listen true."

"Can this be so? Rodan, the spearmaker, doth display more
cunning than all the rest, for he comes to Mathon, not for
gold, but for advice. Many men come to me for gold to pay
for their follies, but as for advice, they want it not. Yet who
is more able to advise than the lender of gold to whom
many men come in trouble?

"Thou shalt eat with me, Rodan," he continued. Thou shalt
be my guest for the evening. Andol" he commanded of the
black slave, "draw up a rag for my friend, Rodan, the
spearmaker, who comes for advice. He shall be mine
honored guest. Bring to him much food and get for him my
largest cup. Choose well of the best wine that he may have
satisfaction in the drinking.

"Now, tell me what troubles thee."

"It is the king's gift."

"The king's gift? The king did make thee a gift and it gives
thee trouble? What manner of gift?"

"Because he was much pleased with the design I did submit
to him for a new point on the spears of the royal guard, he
did present me with fifty pieces of gold, and now I am
much perplexed.

"I am beseeched each hour the sun doth travel across the
sky by those who would share it with me."

"That is natural. More men want gold than have it, and
would wish one who comes by it easily to divide. But can
you not say "No?" Is thy will not as strong as thy fist?"

"To many I can say no, yet sometimes it would be easier to
say yes. Can one refuse to share with one's sister to whom
he is deeply devoted?"

"Surely, thy own sister would not wish to deprive thee of
enjoying thy reward."

"But it is for the sake of Araman, her husband, whom she
wishes to see a rich merchant. She does feel that he has
never had a chance and she beseeches me to loan to him
this gold that he may become a prosperous merchant and
repay me from his profits."

"My friend," resumed Mathon, " 'tis a worthy subject thou
bringest to discuss. Gold bringeth unto its possessor
responsibility and a changed position with his fellow men.
It bringeth fear lest he lose it or it be tricked away from
him. It bringeth a feeling of power and ability to do good.
Likewise, it bringeth opportunities whereby his very good
intentions may bring him into difficulties.

"Didst ever hear of the farmer of Nineveh who could
understand the language of animals? I wot not, for 'tis not
the kind of tale men like to tell over the bronze caster's
forge. I will tell it to thee for thou shouldst know that to
borrowing and lending there is more than the passing of
gold from the hands of one to the hands of another.

"This farmer, who could understand what the animals said
to each other, did linger in the farm yard each evening just
to listen to their words. One evening he did hear the ox
bemoaning to the ass the hardness of his lot: 'I do labor
pulling the plow from morning until night. No matter how
hot the day, or how tired my legs, or how the bow doth
chafe my neck, still must I work. But you are a creature of
leisure. You are trapped with a colorful blanket and do
nothing more than carry our master about where he wishes
to go. When he goes nowhere you do rest and eat the green
grass all the day.'

"Now the ass, in spite of his vicious heels, was a goodly
fellow and sympathized with the ox. 'My good friend, he
replied, 'you do work very hard and I would help ease your
lot. Therefore, will I tell you how you may have a day of
rest. In the morning when the slave comes to fetch you to
the plow, lie upon the ground and bellow much that he may
say you are sick and cannot work.'

"So the ox took the advice of the ass and the next morning
the slave returned to the farmer and told him the ox was
sick and could not pull the plow.

" 'Then,' said the farmer, "hitch the ass to the plow for the
plowing must go on.'

"All that day the ass, who had only intended to help his
friend, found himself compelled to do the ox's task. When
night came and he was released from the plow his heart
was bitter and his legs were weary and his neck was sore
where the bow had chafed it.

"The farmer lingered in the barnyard to listen.

"The ox began first. 'You are my good friend. Because of
your wise advice I have enjoyed a day of rest.'

" 'And I,' retorted the ass, 'am like many another
simplehearted one who starts to help a friend and ends up
by doing his task for him. Hereafter you draw your own
plow, for I did hear the master tell the slave to send for the

butcher were you sick again. I wish he would, for you are a
lazy fellow.' Thereafter they spoke to each other no more—
this ended their friendship. Canst thou tell the moral to this
tale, Rodan?"

" 'Tis a good tale," responded Rodan, "but I see not the

"I thought not that you would. But it is there and simple
too. Just this: If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a
way that will not bring thy friend's burdens upon thyself."

"I had not thought of that. It is a wise moral. I wish not to
assume the burdens of my sister's husband. But tell me.
You lend to many. Do not the borrowers repay?"

Mathon smiled the smile of one whose soul is rich with
much experience. "Could a loan be well made if the
borrower cannot repay? Must not the lender be wise and
judge carefully whether his gold can perform a useful
purpose to the borrower and return to him once more; or
whether it will be wasted by one unable to use it wisely and
leave him without his treasure, and leave the borrower with
a debt he cannot repay? I will show to thee the tokens in
my token chest and let them tell thee some of their stories."

Into the room he brought a chest as long as his arm covered
with red pigskin and ornamented with bronze designs. He
placed it upon the floor and squatted before it, both hands
upon the lid.

"From each person to whom I lend, I do exact a token for
my token chest, to remain there until the loan is repaid.
When they repay I give back, but if they never repay it will
always remind me of one who was not faithful to my

"The safest loans, my token box tells me, are to those
whose possessions are of more value than the one they
desire. They own lands, or jewels, or camels, or other
things which could be sold to repay the loan. Some of the
tokens given to me are jewels of more value than the loan.
Others are promises that if the loan be not repaid as agreed
they will deliver to me certain property settlement. On
loans like those I am assured that my gold will be returned
with the rental thereon, for the loan is based on property.

"In another class are those who have the capacity to earn.
They are such as you, who labor or serve and are paid.
They have income and if they are honest and suffer no
misfortune, I know that they also can repay the gold I loan
them and the rental to which I am entitled. Such loans are
based on human effort.

"Others are those who have neither property nor assured
earning capacity. Life is hard and there will always be
some who cannot adjust themselves to it. Alas for the loans
I make them, even though they be no larger than a pence,
my token box may censure me in the years to come unless
they be guaranteed by good friends of the borrower who
know him honorable."

Mathon released the clasp and opened the lid. Rodan leaned
forward eagerly.

At the top of the chest a bronze neck-piece lay upon a
scarlet cloth. Mathon picked up the piece and patted it
affectionately. "This shall always remain in my token chest
because the owner has passed on into the great darkness. I
treasure, it, his token, and I treasure his memory; for he was
my good friend. We traded together with much success
until out of the east he brought a woman to wed, beautiful,
but not like our women. A dazzling creature. He spent his
gold lavishly to gratify her desires. He came to me in
distress when his gold was gone. I counseled with him. I
told him I would help him to once more master his own
affairs. He swore by the sign of the Great Bull that he
would. But it was not to be. In a quarrel she thrust a knife
into the heart he dared her to pierce."

"And she?" questioned Rodan.

"Yes, of course, this was hers." He picked up the scarlet
cloth. "In bitter remorse she threw herself into the
Euphrates. These two loans will never be repaid. The chest
tells you, Rodan, that humans in the throes of great
emotions are not safe risks for the gold lender.

"Here! Now this is different." He reached for a ring carved
of ox bone. "This belongs to a farmer. I buy the rugs of his
women. The locusts came and they had not food. I helped
him and when the new crop came he repaid me. Later he
came again and told of strange goats in a distant land as
described by a traveler. They had long hair so fine and soft
it would weave into rugs more beautiful than any ever seen
in Babylon. He wanted a herd but he had no money. So I
did lend him gold to make the journey and bring back
goats. Now his herd is begun and next year I shall surprise
the lords of Babylon with the most expensive rugs it has
been their good fortune to buy. Soon I must return his ring.
He doth insist on repaying promptly."

"Some borrowers do that?' queried Rodan.

"If they borrow for purposes that bring money back to
them, I find it so. But if they borrow because of their
indiscretions, I warn thee to be cautious if thou wouldst
ever have thy gold back in hand again."

Tell me about this," requested Rodan, picking up a heavy
gold bracelet inset with jewels in rare designs.
"The women do appeal to my good friend," bantered

"I am still much younger than you," retorted Rodan.

"I grant that, but this time thou doth suspicion romance
where it is not. The owner of this is fat and wrinkled and
doth talk so much and say so little she drives me mad. Once
they had much money and were good customers, but ill
times came upon them. She has a son of whom she would
make a merchant. So she came to me and borrowed gold
that he might become a partner of a caravan owner who
travels with his camels bartering in one city what he buys
in another.

"This man proved a rascal for he left the poor boy in a
distant city without money and without friends, pulling out
early while the youth slept. Perhaps when this youth has
grown to manhood, he will repay; until then I get no rental
for the loan—only much talk. But I do admit the jewels are
worthy of the loan."

"Did this lady ask thy advice as to the wisdom of the loan?"

"Quite otherwise. She had pictured to herself this son of
hers as a wealthy and powerful man of Babylon. To suggest
the contrary was to infuriate her. A fair rebuke I had. I
knew the risk for this inexperienced boy, but as she offered
security I could not refuse her.

"This," continued Mathon, waving a bit of pack rope tied
into a knot, "belongs to Nebatur, the camel trader. When he
would buy a herd larger than his funds he brings to me this
knot and I lend to him according to his needs. He is a wise
trader. I have confidence in his good judgment and can lend
him freely. Many other merchants of Babylon have my
confidence because of their honorable behavior. Their
tokens come and go frequently in my token box. Good
merchants are an asset to our city and it profits me to aid
them to keep trade moving that Babylon be prosperous."

Mathon picked out a beetle carved in turquoise and tossed
it contemptuously on the floor. "A bug from Egypt. The lad
who owns this does not care whether I ever receive back
my gold. When I reproach him he replies, 'How can I repay
when ill fate pursues me? You have plenty more.' What can
I do? The token is his father's—a worthy man of small
means who did pledge his land and herd to back his son's
enterprises. The youth found success at first and then was
over-zealous to gain great wealth. His knowledge was
immature. His enterprises collapsed.

"Youth is ambitious. Youth would take short cuts to wealth
and the desirable things for which it stands. To secure
wealth quickly youth often borrows unwisely. Youth, never
having had experience, cannot realize that hopeless debt is
like a deep pit into which one may descend quickly and
where one may struggle vainly for many days. It is a pit of
sorrow and regrets where the brightness of the sun is
overcast and night is made unhappy by restless sleeping.
Yet, I do not discourage borrowing gold. I encourage it. I
recommend it if it be for a wise purpose. I myself made my
first real success as a merchant with borrowed gold.

"Yet, what should the lender do in such a case? The youth
is in despair and accomplishes nothing. He is discouraged.
He makes no effort to repay. My heart turns against
depriving the father of his land and cattle."

"You tell me much that I am interested to hear," ventured
Rodan, "but, I hear no answer to my question. Should I
lend my fifty pieces of gold to my sister's husband? They
mean much to me."

"Thy sister is a sterling woman whom I do much esteem.
Should her husband come to me and ask to borrow fifty
pieces of gold I should ask him for what purpose he would
use it.

"If he answered that he desired to become a merchant like
myself and deal in jewels and rich furnishings. I would say,
'What knowledge have you of the ways of trade? Do you
know where you can buy at lowest cost? Do you know
where you can sell at a fair price?" Could he say 'Yes' to
these questions?"

"No, he could not," Rodan admitted. "He has helped me
much in making spears and he has helped some in the

"Then, would I say to him that his purpose was not wise.
Merchants must learn their trade. His ambition, though
worthy, is not practical and I would not lend him any gold.

"But, supposing he could say: 'Yes, I have helped
merchants much. I know how to travel to Smyrna and to
buy at low cost the rugs the housewives weave. I also know
many of the rich people of Babylon to whom I can sell
these at a large profit.' Then I would say: 'Your purpose is
wise and your ambition honorable. I shall be glad to lend
you the fifty pieces of gold if you can give me security that
they will be returned." But would he say, 'I have no
security other than that I am an honored man and will pay
you well for the loan.' Then would I reply, 'I treasure much
each piece of gold. Were the robbers to take it from you as
you journeyed to Smyrna or take the rugs from you as you
returned, then you would have no means of repaying me
and my gold would be gone.'

"Gold, you see, Rodan, is the merchandise of the lender of
money. It is easy to lend. If it is lent unwisely then it is
difficult to get back. The wise lender wishes not the risk of
the undertaking but the guarantee of safe repayment.

" 'Tis well," he continued, "to assist those that are in
trouble, 'tis well to help those upon whom fate has laid a
heavy hand. 'Tis well to help those who are starting that
they may progress and become valuable citizens. But help
must be given wisely, lest, like the farmer's ass, in our
desire to help we but take upon ourselves the burden that
belongs to another.

"Again I wandered from thy question, Rodan, but hear my
answer: Keep thy fifty pieces of gold. What thy labor earns
for thee and what is given thee for reward is thine own and
no man can put an obligation upon thee to part with it
unless it do be thy wish. If thee wouldst lend it so that it
may earn thee more gold, then lend with caution and in
many places. I like not idle gold, even less I like too much
of risk.

"How many years hast thou labored as a spearmaker?"

"Fully three."

"How much besides the King's gift hast saved?"

"Three gold pieces."

"Each year that thou hast labored thou has denied thyself
good things to save from thine earnings one piece of gold?"

" 'Tis as you say."

"Then mightest save in fifty years of labor fifty pieces of
gold by thy self-denial?"

"A lifetime of labor it would be."

"Thinkest thou thy sister would wish to jeopardize the
savings of fifty years of labor over the bronze melting pot
that her husband might experiment on being a merchant?"

"Not if I spoke in your words."

"Then go to her and say: 'Three years I have labored each
day except fast days, from morning until night, and I have
denied myself many things that my heart craved. For each
year of labor and self-denial I have to show one piece of
gold. Thou art my favored sister and I wish that thy
husband may engage in business in which he will prosper
greatly. If he will submit to me a plan that seems wise and
possible to my friend, Mathon, then will I gladly lend to
him my savings of an entire year that he may have an
opportunity to prove that he can succeed.' Do that, I say,
and if he has within him the soul to succeed he can prove it.
If he fails he will not owe thee more than he can hope some
day to repay.

"I am a gold lender because I own more gold than I can use
in my own trade. I desire my surplus gold to labor for
others and thereby earn more gold. I do not wish to take
risk of losing my gold for I have labored much and denied
myself much to secure it. Therefore, I will no longer lend
any of it where I am not confident that it is safe and will be
returned to me. Neither will I lend it where I am not
convinced that its earnings will be promptly paid to me.

"I have told to thee, Rodan, a few of the secrets of my
token chest. From them you may understand the weakness
of men and their eagerness to borrow that which they have
no certain means to repay. From this you can see how often
their high hopes of the great earnings they could make, if
they but had gold, are but false hopes they have not the
ability or training to fulfill.

"Thou, Rodan, now have gold which thou shouldst put to
earning more gold for thee. Thou art about to become even
as I, a gold lender. If thou dost safely preserve thy treasure
it will produce liberal earnings for thee and be a rich source
of pleasure and profit during all thy days. But if thou dost
let it escape from thee, it will be a source of constant
sorrow and regret as long as thy memory doth last.

"What desirest thou most of this gold in thy wallet?"

"To keep it safe."

"Wisely spoken," replied Mathon approvingly. "Thy first
desire is for safety. Thinkest thou that in the custody of thy
sister's husband it would be truly safe from possible loss?"

"I fear not, for he is not wise in guarding gold."

"Then be not swayed by foolish sentiments of obligation to
trust thy treasure to any person. If thou wouldst help thy
family or thy friends, find other ways than risking the loss
of thy treasure. Forget not that gold slippeth away in
unexpected ways from those unskilled in guarding it. As
well waste thy treasure in extravagance as let others lose it
for thee.

"What next after safety dost desire of this treasure of

"That it earn more gold."

"Again thou speakest with wisdom. It should be made to
earn and grow larger. Gold wisely lent may even double
itself with its earnings before a man like you groweth old.
If you risk losing it you risk losing all that it would earn as

"Therefore, be not swayed by the fantastic plans of
impractical men who think they see ways to force thy gold
to make earnings unusually large. Such plans are the
creations of dreamers unskilled in the safe and dependable
laws of trade. Be conservative in what thou expect it to earn
that thou mayest keep and enjoy thy treasure. To hire it out
with a promise of usurious returns is to invite loss.

"Seek to associate thyself with men and enterprises whose
success is established that thy treasure may earn liberally
under their skillful use and be guarded safely by their
wisdom and experience.

"Thus, mayest thou avoid the misfortunes that follow most
of the sons of men to whom the gods see fit to entrust

When Rodan would thank him for his wise advice he
would not listen, saying, "The king's gift shall teach thee
much wisdom. If wouldst keep thy fifty pieces of gold thou
must be discreet indeed. Many uses will tempt thee. Much
advice will be spoken to thee. Numerous opportunities to
make large profits will be offered thee. The stories from my
token box should warn thee, before thou let any piece of
gold leave thy pouch to be sure that thou hast a safe way to
pull it back again. Should my further advice appeal to thee,
return again. It is gladly given.

" 'E're thou goest read this which I have carved beneath the
lid of my token box. It applies equally to the borrower and
the lender:

              THAN A GREAT REGRET

                 The Walls of Babylon
Old Banzar, grim warrior of another day, stood guard at
the passageway leading to the top of the ancient walls of
Babylon. Up above, valiant defenders were battling to hold
the walls. Upon them depended the future existence of this
great city with its hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Over the walls came the roar of the attacking armies, the
yelling of many men, the trampling of thousands of horses,
the deafening boom of the battering rams pounding the
bronzed gates.

In the street behind the gate lounged the spearmen, waiting
to defend the entrance should the gates give way. They
were but few for the task. The main armies of Babylon
were with their king, far away in the east on the great
expedition against the Elamites. No attack upon the city
having been anticipated during their absence, the defending
forces were small. Unexpectedly, from the north, bore
down the mighty armies of the Assyrians. And now the
walls must hold or Babylon was doomed.

About Banzar were great crowds of citizens, white-faced
and terrified, eagerly seeking news of the battle. With
hushed awe they viewed the stream of wounded and dead
being carried or led out of the passageway.

Here was the crucial point of attack. After three days of
circling about the city, the enemy had suddenly thrown his
great strength against this section and this gate.

The defenders from the top of the wall fought off the
climbing platforms and the scaling ladders of the attackers
with arrows, burning oil and, if any reached the top, spears.
Against the defenders, thousands of the enemy's archers
poured a deadly barrage of arrows.
Old Banzar had the vantage point for news. He was closest
to the conflict and first to hear of each fresh repulse of the
frenzied attackers.

An elderly merchant crowded close to him, his palsied
hands quivering. "Tell me! Tell me!" he pleaded. "They
cannot get in. My sons are with the good king. There is no
one to protect my old wife. My goods, they will steal all.
My food, they will leave nothing. We are old, too old to
defend ourselves—too old for slaves. We shall starve. We
shall die. Tell me they cannot get in."

"Calm thyself, good merchant," the guard responded. "The
walls of Babylon are strong. Go back to the bazaar and tell
your wife that the walls will protect you and all of your
possessions as safely as they protect the rich treasures of
the king. Keep close to the walls, lest the arrows flying
over strike you!"

A woman with a babe in arms took the old man's place as
he withdrew. "Sergeant, what news from the top? Tell me
truly that I may reassure my poor husband. He lies with
fever from his terrible wounds, yet insists upon his armor
and his spear to protect me, who am with child. Terrible he
says will be the vengeful lust of our enemies should they
break in."

"Be thou of good heart, thou mother that is, and is again to
be, the walls of Babylon will protect you and your babes.
They are high and strong. Hear ye not the yells of our
valiant defenders as they empty the caldrons of burning oil
upon the ladder scalers?"

"Yes, that do I hear and also the roar of the battering rams
that do hammer at our gates."

"Back to thy husband. Tell him the gates are strong and
withstand the rams. Also that the scalers climb the walls
but to receive the waiting spear thrust. Watch, thy way and
hasten behind you buildings."

Banzar stepped aside to clear the passage for heavily armed
reinforcements. As, with clanking bronze shields and heavy
tread, they tramped by, a small girl plucked at his girdle.

"Tell me please, soldier, are we safe?" she pleaded. I hear
the awful noises. I see the men all bleeding. I am so
frightened. What will become of our family, of my mother,
little brother and the baby?"

The grim old campaigner blinked his eyes and thrust
forward his chin as he beheld the child.

"Be not afraid, little one," he reassured her. "The walls of
Babylon will protect you and mother and little brother and
the baby. It was for the safety of such as you that the good
Queen Semiramis built them over a hundred years ago.
Never have they been broken through. Go back and tell
your mother and little brother and the baby that the walls of
Babylon will protect them and they need have no fear."

Day after day old Banzar stood at his post and watched the
reinforcements file up the passageway, there to stay and
fight until wounded or dead they came down once more.
Around him, unceasingly crowded the throngs of
frightened citizens eagerly seeking to learn if the walls
would hold. To all he gave his answer with the fine dignity
of an old soldier, "The walls of Babylon will protect you."

For three weeks and five days the attack waged with
scarcely ceasing violence. Harder and grimmer set the jaw
of Banzar as the passage behind, wet with the blood of the
many wounded, was churned into mud by the never ceasing
streams of men passing up and staggering down. Each day
the slaughtered attackers piled up in heaps before the wall.
Each night they were carried back and buried by their
comrades. Upon the fifth night of the fourth week the
clamor without diminished. The first streaks of daylight,
illuminating the plains, disclosed great clouds of dust raised
by the retreating armies.

A mighty shout went up from the defenders. There was no
mistaking its meaning. It was repeated by the waiting
troops behind the walls. It was echoed by the citizens upon
the streets. It swept over the city with the violence of a

People rushed from the houses. The streets were jammed
with a throbbing mob. The pent-up fear of weeks found an
outlet in the wild chorus of joy. From the top of the high
tower of the Temple of Bel burst forth the flames of
victory. Skyward floated the column of blue smoke to carry
the message far and wide.

The walls of Babylon had once again repulsed a mighty
and viscous foe determined to loot her rich treasures and to
ravish and enslave her citizens.

Babylon endured century after century because it was fully
protected. It could not afford to be otherwise.

The walls of Babylon were an outstanding example of
man's need and desire for protection. This desire is inherent
in the human race. It is just as strong today as it ever was,
but we have developed broader and better plans to
accomplish the same purpose.

In this day, behind the impregnable walls of insurance,
savings accounts and dependable investments, we can
guard ourselves against the unexpected tragedies that may
enter any door and seat themselves before any fireside.

            The Camel Trader of Babylon
The hungrier one becomes, the clearer one's mind works—
also the more sensitive one becomes to the odors of food.

Tarkad, the son of Azure, certainly thought so. For two
whole days he had tasted no food except two small figs
purloined from over the wall of a garden. Not another could
he grab before the angry woman rushed forth and chased
him down the street. Her shrill cries were still ringing in his
ears as he walked through the market place. They helped
him to retrain his restless fingers from snatching the
tempting fruits from the baskets of the market women.

Never before had he realized how much food was brought
to the markets of Babylon and how good it smelled.
Leaving the market, he walked across to the inn and paced
back and forth in front of the eating house. Perhaps here he
might meet someone he knew; someone from whom he
could borrow a copper that would gain him a smile from
the unfriendly keeper of the inn and, with it, a liberal
helping. Without the copper he knew all too well how
unwelcome he would be.

In his abstraction he unexpectedly found himself face to
face with the one man he wished most to avoid, the tall
bony figure of Dabasir, the camel trader. Of all the friends
and others from whom he had borrowed small sums,
Dabasir made him feel the most uncomfortable because of
his failure to keep his promises to repay promptly.

Dabasir's face lighted up at the sight of him. "Ha! 'Tis
Tarkad, just the one I have been seeking that he might
repay the two pieces of copper which I lent him a moon
ago; also the piece of silver which I lent to him before that.
We are well met. I can make good use of the coins this very
day. What say, boy? What say?"
Tarkad stuttered and his face flushed. He had naught in his
empty stomach to nerve him to argue with the outspoken
Dabasir. "I am sorry, very sorry," he mumbled weakly, "but
this day I have neither the copper nor the silver with which
I could repay."

"Then get it," Dabasir insisted. "Surely thou canst get hold
of a few coppers and a piece of silver to repay the
generosity of an old friend of thy father who aided thee
whenst thou wast in need?"

" 'Tis because ill fortune does pursue me that I cannot pay."

"Ill fortune! Wouldst blame the gods for thine own
weakness. Ill fortune pursues every man who thinks more
of borrowing than of repaying. Come with me, boy, while I
eat. I am hungry and I would tell thee a tale."

Tarkad flinched from the brutal frankness of Dabasir, but
here at least was an invitation to enter the coveted doorway
of the eating house.

Dabasir pushed him to a far corner of the room where they
seated themselves upon small rugs.

When Kauskor, the proprietor, appeared smiling, Dabasir
addressed him with his usual freedom, "Fat lizard of the
desert, bring to me a leg of the goat, brown with much
juice, and bread and all of the vegetables for I am hungry
and want much food. Do not forget my friend here. Bring
to him a jug of water. Have it cooled, for the day is hot."

Tarkad's heart sank. Must he sit here and drink water while
he watched this man devour an entire goat leg? He said
nothing. He thought of nothing he could say.

Dabasir, however, knew no such thing as silence. Smiling

and waving his hand good-naturedly to the other customers,
all of whom knew him, he continued.

"I did hear from a traveler just returned from Urfa of a
certain rich man who has a piece of stone cut so thin that
one can look through it. He put it in the window of his
house to keep out the rains. It is yellow, so this traveler
does relate, and he was permitted to look through it and all
the outside world looked strange and not like it really is.
What say you to that, Tarkad? Thinkest all the world could
look to a man a different color from what it is?"

"I dare say," responded the youth, much more interested in
the fat leg of goat placed before Dabasir.

"Well, I know it to be true for I myself have seen the world
all of a different color from what it really is and the tale I
am about to tell relates how I came to see it in its right
color once more."

"Dabasir will tell a tale," whispered a neighboring diner to
his neighbor, and dragged his rug close. Other diners
brought their food and crowded in a semi-circle. They
crunched noisily in the ears of Tarkad and brushed him
with their meaty bones. He alone was without food.
Dabasir did not offer to share with him nor even motion
him to a small corner of the hard bread that was broken off
and had fallen from the platter to the floor.

"The tale that I am about to tell," began Dabasir, pausing to
bite a goodly chunk from the goat leg, "relates to my early
life and how I came to be a camel trader. Didst anyone
know that I once was a slave in Syria?"

A murmur of surprise ran through the audience to which
Dabasir listened with satisfaction.

"When I was a young man," continued Dabasir after
another vicious onslaught on the goat leg, "I learned the
trade of my father, the making of saddles. I worked with
him in his shop and took to myself a wife. Being young and
not greatly skilled, I could earn but little, just enough to
support my excellent wife in a modest way. I craved good
things which I could not afford. Soon I found that the shop
keepers would trust me to pay later even though I could not
pay at the time.

"Being young and without experience I did not know that
he who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of
needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the
whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation. So I indulged my
whims for fine raiment and bought luxuries for my good
wife and our home, beyond our means.

"I paid as I could and for a while all went well. But in time
I discovered I could not use my earnings both to live upon
and to pay my debts. Creditors began to pursue me to pay
for my extravagant purchases and my life became
miserable. I borrowed from my friends, but could not repay
them either. Things went from bad to worse. My wife
returned to her father and I decided to leave Babylon and
seek another city where a young man might have better

"For two years I had a restless and unsuccessful life
working for caravan traders. From this I fell in with a set of
likeable robbers who scoured the desert for unarmed
caravans. Such deeds were unworthy of the son of my
father, but I was seeing the world through a colored stone
and did not realize to what degradation I had fallen.

"We met with success on our first trip, capturing a rich haul
of gold and silks and valuable merchandise. This loot we
took to Ginir and squandered.
"The second time we were not so fortunate. Just after we
had made our capture, we were attacked by the spearsmen
of a native chief to whom the caravans paid for protection.
Our two leaders were killed, and the rest of us were taken
to Damascus where we were stripped of our clothing and
sold as slaves.

"I was purchased for two pieces of silver by a Syrian desert
chief. With my hair shorn and but a loin cloth to wear, I
was not so different from the other slaves. Being a reckless
youth, I thought it merely an adventure until my master
took me before his four wives and told them they could
have me for a eunuch.

Then, indeed, did I realize the hopelessness of my situation.
These men of the desert were fierce and warlike. I was
subject to their will without weapons or means of escape.

"Fearful I stood, as those four women looked me over. I
wondered if I could expect pity from them. Sira, the first
wife, was older than the others. Her face was impassive as
she looked upon me. I turned from her with little
consolation. The next was a contemptuous beauty who
gazed at me as indifferently as if I had been a worm of the
earth. The two younger ones tittered as though it were all
an exciting joke.

"It seemed an age that I stood waiting sentence. Each
woman appeared willing for the others to decide. Finally
Sira spoke up in a cold voice.

" 'Of eunuchs we have plenty, but of camel tenders we have
few and they are a worthless lot. Even this day I would visit
my mother who is sick with the fever and there is no slave I
would trust to lead my camel. Ask this slave if he can lead
a camel.'

"My master thereupon questioned me, 'What know you of

"Striving to conceal my eagerness, I replied, I can make
them kneel, I can load them, I can lead them on long trips
without tiring. If need be, I can repair their trappings."

" 'The slave speaks forward enough, observed my master. If
thou so desire, Sira, take this man for thy camel tender.'

"So I was turned over to Sira and that day I led her camel
upon a long journey to her sick mother. I took the occasion
to thank her for her intercession and also to tell her that I
was not a slave by birth, but the son of a freeman, an
honorable saddle maker of Babylon. I also told her much of
my story. Her comments were disconcerting to me and I
pondered much afterwards on what she said.

" 'How can you call yourself a free man when your
weakness has brought you to this? If a man has in
himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no
matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If a
man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not
become respected and honored in his own city in spite of
his misfortune?'

"For over a year I was a slave and lived with the slaves, but
I could not become as one of them. One day Sira asked me,
'In the eventime when the other slaves can mingle and
enjoy the society of each other, why dost thou sit in thy tent

"To which I responded, 'I am pondering what you have said
to me. I wonder if I have the soul of a slave. I cannot join
them, so I must sit apart.'

" 'I, too, must sit apart,' she confided. 'My dowry was large

and my lord married me because of it. Yet he does not
desire me. What every woman longs for is to be desired.
Because of this and because I am barren and have neither
son nor daughter, must I sit apart. Were I a man I would
rather die than be such a slave, but the conventions of our
tribe make slaves of women.'

" 'What think thou of me by this time?' I asked her
suddenly, 'Have I the soul of a man or have I the soul of a

" 'Have you a desire to repay the just debts you owe in
Babylon?' she parried.

" 'Yes, I have the desire, but I see no way.'

" 'If thou contentedly let the years slip by and make no
effort to repay, then thou hast but the contemptible soul of
a slave. No man is otherwise who cannot respect himself
and no man can respect himself who does not repay honest

" 'But what can I do who am a slave in Syria?'

" 'Stay a slave in Syria, thou weakling.'

" 'I am not a weakling,' I denied hotly.

" 'Then prove it.'

" 'How?'

" 'Does not thy great king fight his enemies in every way he
can and with every force he has? Thy debts are thy
enemies. They ran thee out of Babylon. You left them alone
and they grew too strong for thee. Hadst fought them as a
man, thou couldst have conquered them and been one
honored among the townspeople. But thou had not the soul
to fight them and behold thy pride hast gone down until
thou art a slave in Syria.'

"Much I thought over her unkind accusations and many
defensive phrases I worded to prove myself not a slave at
heart, but I was not to have the chance to use them. Three
days later the maid of Sira took me to her mistress.

" 'My mother is again very sick,' she said. 'Saddle the two
best camels in my husband's herd. Tie on water skins and
saddle bags for a long journey. The maid will give thee
food at the kitchen tent.' I packed the camels wondering
much at the quantity of provisions the maid provided, for
the mother dwelt less than a day's journey away. The maid
rode the rear camel which followed and I led the camel of
my mistress. When we reached her mother's house it was
just dark. Sira dismissed the maid and said to me:

" 'Dabasir, hast thou the soul of a free man or the soul of a

" 'The soul of a free man,' I insisted.

" 'Now is thy chance to prove it. Thy master hath imbibed
deeply and his chiefs are in a stupor. Take then these
camels and make thy escape. Here in this bag is raiment of
thy master's to disguise thee. I will say thou stole the
camels and ran away while I visited my sick mother.'

" 'Thou hast the soul of a queen,' I told her. 'Much do I wish
that I might lead thee to happiness.'

" 'Happiness,' she responded, 'awaits not the runaway wife
who seeks it in far lands among strange people. Go thy own
way and may the gods of the desert protect thee for the way
is far and barren of food or water.'

"I needed no further urging, but thanked her warmly and
was away into the night. I knew not this strange country
and had only a dim idea of the direction in which lay
Babylon, but struck out bravely across the desert toward
the hills. One camel I rode and the other I led. All that night
I traveled and all the nest day, urged on by the knowledge
of the terrible fate that was meted out to slaves who stole
their master's property and tried to escape.

"Late that afternoon, I reached a rough country as
uninhabitable as the desert. The sharp rocks bruised the feet
of my faithful camels and soon they were picking their way
slowly and painfully along. I met neither man nor beast and
could well understand why they shunned this inhospitable

"It was such a journey from then on as few men live to tell
of. Day after day we plodded along. Food and water gave
out. The heat of the sun was merciless. At the end of the
ninth day, I slid from the back of my mount with the
feeling that I was too weak to ever remount and I would
surely die, lost in this abandoned country.

"I stretched out upon the ground and slept, not waking until
the first gleam of daylight.

"I sat up and looked about me. There was a coolness in the
morning air. My camels lay dejected not far away. About
me was a vast waste of broken country covered with rock
and sand and thorny things, no sign of water, naught to eat
for man or camel.

"Could it be that in this peaceful quiet I faced my end? My
mind was clearer than it had ever been before. My body
now seemed of little importance. My parched and bleeding
lips, my dry and swollen tongue, my empty stomach, all
had lost their supreme agonies of the day before.
"I looked across into the uninviting distance and once again
came to me the question, 'Have I the soul of a slave or the
soul of a free man?' Then with clearness I realized that if I
had the soul of a slave, I should give up, lie down in the
desert and die, a fitting end for a runaway slave.

"But if I had the soul of a free man, what then? Surely I
would force my way back to Babylon, repay the people
who had trusted me, bring happiness to my wife who truly
loved me and bring peace and contentment to my parents.

" 'Thy debts are thine enemies who have run thee out of
Babylon,' Sira had said. Yes it was so. Why had I refused to
stand my ground like a man? Why had I permitted my wife
to go back to her father?

"Then a strange thing happened. All the world seemed to be
of a different color as though I had been looking at it
through a colored stone which had suddenly been removed.
At last I saw the true values in life.

"Die in the desert! Not I! With a new vision, I saw the
things that I must do. First I would go back to Babylon and
face every man to whom I owed an unpaid debt. I should
tell them that after years of wandering and misfortune, I
had come back to pay my debts as fast as the gods would
permit. Next I should make a home for my wife and
become a citizen of whom my parents should be proud.

"My debts were my enemies, but the men I owed were my
friends for they had trusted me and believed in me.

"I staggered weakly to my feet. What mattered hunger?
What mattered thirst? They were but incidents on the road
to Babylon. Within me surged the soul of a free man going
back to conquer his enemies and reward his friends. I
thrilled with the great resolve.
"The glazed eyes of my camels brightened at the new note
in my husky voice. With great effort, after
many attempts, they gained their feet. With pitiful
perseverance, they pushed on toward the north where
something within me said we would find Babylon.

"We found water. We passed into a more fertile country
where were grass and fruit. We found the trail to Babylon
because the soul of a free man looks at life as a series of
problems to be solved and solves them, while the soul of a
slave whines, 'What can I do who am but a slave?'

"How about thee, Tarkad? Dost thy empty stomach make
thy head exceedingly clear? Art ready to take the road that
leads back to self respect? Canst thou see the world in its
true color? Hast thou the desire to pay thy honest debts,
however many they may be, and once again be a man
respected in Babylon?"

Moisture came to the eyes of the youth. He rose eagerly to
his knees. "Thou has shown me a vision; already I feel the
soul of a free man surge within me."

"But how fared you upon your return?" questioned an
interested listener.

"Where the determination is, the way can be found"
Dabasir replied. "I now had the determination so I set out to
find a way. First I visited every man to whom I was
indebted and begged his indulgence until I could earn that
with which to repay. Most of them met me gladly. Several
reviled me but others offered to help me; one indeed did
give me the very help I needed. It was Mathon, the gold
lender. Learning that I had been a camel tender in Syria; he
sent me to old Nebatur, the camel trader, just
commissioned by our good king to purchase many herds of
sound camels for the great expedition. With him, my
knowledge of camels I put to good use. Gradually I was
able to repay every copper and every piece of silver. Then
at last I could hold up my head and feel that I was an
honorable man among men."

Again Dabasir turned to his food. "Kauskor, thou snail," he
called loudly to be heard in the kitchen, "the food is cold.
Bring me more meat fresh from the roasting. Bring thou
also a very large portion for Tarkad, the son of my old
friend, who is hungry and shall eat with me."

So ended the tale of Dabasir the camel trader of old
Babylon. He found his own soul when he realized a great
truth, a truth that had been known and used by wise men
long before his time.

It has led men of all ages out of difficulties and into success
and it will continue to do so for those who have the wisdom
to understand its magic power. It is for any man to use who
reads these lines.

            THE WAY CAN BE FOUND

     The Clay Tablets From Babylon

Professor Franklin Caldwell,
Care of British Scientific Expedition,
Hillah, Mesopotamia.
                         October 21, 1934.
My dear Professor:

The five clay tablets from your recent
excavation in the ruins of Babylon arrived
on the same boat with your letter. I have
been fascinated no end, and have spent
many pleasant hours translating their
inscriptions. I should have answered your
letter at once but delayed until I could
complete   the   translations  which   are

The tablets arrived without damage, thanks
to your careful use of preservatives and
excellent packing.

You will be as astonished as we in the
laboratory at the story they relate. One
expects the dim and distant past to speak
of romance and adventure. "Arabian Nights"
sort of things, you know. When instead it
discloses the problem of a person named
Dabasir to pay off his debts, one realizes
that conditions upon this old world have
not changed as much in five thousand years
as one might expect.

   It's   odd,  you   know,  but   these  old
   inscriptions rather "rag" me, as the
   students say. Being a college professor, I
   am supposed to be a thinking human being
   possessing a working knowledge of most
   subjects. Yet, here comes this old chap
   out of the dust-covered ruins of Babylon
   to offer a way I had never heard of to
   pay off my debts and at the same time
   acquire gold to jingle in my wallet.

   Pleasant thought, I say, and interesting
   to prove whether it will work as well
   nowadays as it did in old Babylon. Mrs.
   Shrewsbury and myself are planning to try
   out his plan upon our own affairs which
   could be much improved.

   Wishing you the best of luck in your
   worthy undertaking and waiting eagerly
   another opportunity to assist, I am,
   Yours sincerely,
   Alfred H. Shrewsbury,
   Department of Archaeology.

                       Tablet No. I

Now, when the moon becometh full, I, Dabasir, who am
but recently returned from slavery in Syria, with the
determination to pay my many just debts and become a
man of means worthy of respect in my native city of
Babylon, do here engrave upon the clay a permanent record
of my affairs to guide and assist me in carrying through my
high desires.

Under the wise advice of my good friend Mathon, the gold
lender, I am determined to follow an exact plan that he doth

say will lead any honorable man out of debt into means and
self respect.

This plan includeth three purposes which are my hope and

First, the plan doth provide for my future prosperity.

Therefore one-tenth of all I earn shall be set aside as my
own to keep. For Mathon speaketh wisely when he saith:

"That man who keepeth in his purse both gold and silver
that he need not spend is good to his family and loyal to his

"The man who hath but a few coppers in his purse is
indifferent to his family and indifferent to his king.

"But the man who hath naught in his purse is unkind to his
family and is disloyal to his king, for his own heart is bitter.

"Therefore, the man who wisheth to achieve must have
coin that he may keep to jingle in his purse, that he have in
his heart love for his family and loyalty to his king."

Second, the plan doth provide that I shall support and
clothe my good wife who hath returned to me with loyalty
from the house of her father. For Mathon doth say that to
take good care of a faithful wife putteth self-respect into the
heart of a man and addeth strength and determination to his

Therefore seven-tenths of all I earn shall be used to provide
a home, clothes to wear, and food to eat, with a bit extra to
spend, that our lives be not lacking in pleasure and
enjoyment. But he doth further enjoin the greatest care that
we spend not greater than seven-tenths of what I earn for
these worthy purposes. Herein lieth the success of the plan.
I must live upon this portion and never use more nor buy
what I may not pay for out of this portion.

                      Tablet No. II

Third, the plan doth provide that out of my earnings my
debts shall be paid.

Therefore each time the moon is full, two-tenths of all I
have earned shall be divided honorably and fairly among
those who have trusted me and to whom I am indebted.
Thus in due time will all my indebtedness be surely paid.

Therefore, do I here engrave the name of every man to
whom I am indebted and the honest amount of my debt.

Fahru, the cloth weaver, 2 silver, 6 copper.
Sinjar, the couch maker, 1 silver.
Ahmar, my friend, 3 silver, 1 copper.
Zankar, my friend, 4 silver, 7 copper,
Askamir, my friend, 1 silver, 3 copper.
Harinsir, the Jewelmaker, 6 silver, 2 copper.
Diarbeker, my father's friend, 4 silver, 1 copper.
Alkahad, the house owner, 14 silver.
Mathon, the gold lender, 9 silver.
Birejik, the farmer, 1 silver, 7 copper.
(From here on, disintegrated. Cannot be deciphered.)

                      Tablet No. III

To these creditors do I owe in total one hundred and
nineteen pieces of silver and one hundred and forty-one
pieces of copper. Because I did owe these sums and saw no
way to repay, in my folly I did permit my wife to return to
her father and didst leave my native city and seek easy

wealth elsewhere, only to find disaster and to see myself
sold into the degradation of slavery.

Now that Mathon doth show me how I can repay my debts
in small sums of my earnings, do I realize the great extent
of my folly in running away from the results of my

Therefore have I visited my creditors and explained to them
that I have no resources with which to pay except my
ability to earn, and that I intent to apply two tenths of all I
earn upon my indebtedness evenly and honestly. This much
can I pay but no more. Therefore if they be patient, in time
my obligations will be paid in full.

Ahmar, whom I thought my best friend, reviled me bitterly
and I left him in humiliation. Birejik, the farmer, pleaded
that I pay him first as he didst badly need help. Alkahad,
the house owner, was indeed disagreeable and insisted that
he would make me trouble unless I didst soon settle in full
with him.

All the rest willingly accepted my proposal. Therefore am I
more determined than ever to carry through, being
convinced that it is easier to pay one's just debts than to
avoid them. Even though I cannot meet the needs and
demands of a few of my creditors I will deal impartially
with all.

                        Tablet No. IV

Again the moon shines full. I have worked hard with a free
mind. My good wife hath supported my intentions to pay
my creditors. Because of our wise determination, I have
earned during the past moon, buying camels of sound wind
and good legs, for Nebatur, the sum of nineteen pieces of
This I have divided according to the plan. One-tenth have I
set aside to keep as my own, seven-tenths have I divided
with my good wife to pay for our living. Two-tenths have I
divided among my creditors as evenly as could be done in

I did not see Ahmar but left it with his wife. Birejik was so
pleased he would kiss my hand. Old Alkahad alone was
grouchy and said I must pay faster. To which I replied that
if I were permitted to be well fed and not worried, that
alone would enable me to pay faster. All the others thanked
me and spoke well of my efforts.

Therefore, at the end of one moon, my indebtedness is
reduced by almost four pieces of silver and I possess
almost two pieces of silver besides, upon which no man
hath claim. My heart is lighter than it hath been for a long

Again the moon shines full. I have worked hard but with
poor success. Few camels have I been able to buy. Only
eleven pieces of silver have I earned. Nevertheless my good
wife and I have stood by the plan even though we have
bought no new raiment and eaten little but herbs. Again I
paid ourselves one-tenth of the eleven pieces, while we
lived upon seven-tenths. I was surprised when Ahmar
commended my payment, even though small. So did
Birejik. Alkahad flew into a rage but when told to give
back his portion if he did not wish it, he became reconciled.
The others, as before, were content

Again the moon shines full and I am greatly rejoiced. I
intercepted a fine herd of camels and bought many sound
ones, therefore my earnings were forty-two pieces of silver.
This moon my wife and myself have bought much needed
sandals and raiment Also we have dined well on meat and
More than eight pieces of silver we have paid to our
creditors. Even Alkahad did not protest.

Great is the plan for it leadeth us out of debt and giveth us
wealth which is ours to keep.

Three times the moon had been full since I last carved upon
this clay. Each time I paid to myself one-tenth of all I
earned. Each time my good wife and I have lived upon
seven-tenths even though at times it was difficult. Each
time have I paid to my creditors two-tenths.

In my purse I now have twenty one pieces of silver that are
mine. It maketh my head to stand straight upon my
shoulders and maketh me proud to walk among my friends.

My wife keepeth well our home and is becomingly
gowned. We are happy to live together.

The plan is of untold value. Hath it not made an honorable
man of an ex-slave?

                       Tablet No. V

Again the moon shines full and I remember that it is long
since I carved upon the clay. Twelve moons in truth have
come and gone. But this day I will not neglect my record
because upon this day I have paid the last of my debts. This
is the day upon which my good wife and my thankful self
celebrate with great feasting that our determination hath
been achieved.

Many things occurred upon my final visit to my creditors
that I shall long remember. Ahmar begged my forgiveness
for his unkind words and said that I was one of all others he
most desired for a friend.

Old Alkahad is not so bad after all, for he said, "Thou wert
once a piece of soft clay to be pressed and moulded by any
hand that touched thee, but now thou art a piece of bronze
capable of holding an edge. If thou needst silver or gold at
any time come to me."

Nor is he the only one who holdeth me in high regard.
Many others speak deferentially to me. My good wife
looketh upon me with a light in her eyes that doth make a
man have confidence in himself.

Yet it is the plan that hath made my success. It hath enabled
me to pay all my debts and to jingle both gold and silver in
my purse. I do commend it to all who wish to get ahead.
For truly if it will enable an ex-slave to pay his debts and
have gold in his purse, will it not aid any man to find
independence? Nor am I, myself, finished with it, for I am
convinced that if I follow it further it will make me rich
among men.

   Professor Franklin Caldwell,
   Care of British Scientific Expedition,
   Hillah, Mesopotamia.

                                 November 7th, 1936.

   My dear professor:

   If, in your further          digging into those
   ruins of Babylon, you        encounter the ghost
   of a former resident,        an old camel trader
   named Dabasir, do me          a favor. Tell him

that his scribbling upon those clay
tablets, so long ago, has earned for him
the life long gratitude of a couple of
college folks back here in England.

You will possibly remember my writing a
year ago that Mrs. Shrewsbury and myself
intended to try his plan for getting out
of debt and at the same time having gold
to jingle. You may have guessed, even
though we tried to keep it from our
friends, our desperate straits.

We were frightfully humiliated for years
by a lot of old debts and worried sick for
fear some of the tradespeople might start
a scandal that would force me out of the
college. We paid and paid—every shilling
we could squeeze out of income—but it was
hardly enough to hold things even. Besides
we were forced to do all our buying where
we could get further credit regardless of
higher costs.

It developed into one of those vicious
circles that grow worse instead of better.
Our struggles were getting hopeless. We
could not move to less costly rooms
because we owed the landlord. There did
not appear to be anything we could do to
improve our situation.

Then, here comes your acquaintance, the
old camel trader from Babylon, with a plan
to do just what we wished to accomplish.
He jolly well stirred us up to follow his
system. We made a list of all our debts
and I took it around and showed it to
everyone we owed.

I explained how it was simply impossible

for me to ever pay them the way things
were going along. They could readily see
this themselves from the figures. Then I
explained that the only way I saw to pay
in full was to set aside twenty percent of
my income each month to be divided pro
rata, which would pay them in full in a
little over two years. That, in the
meantime, we would go on a cash basis and
give them the further benefit of our cash

They   were  really   quite   decent. Our
greengrocer, a wise old chap, put it in a
way that helped to bring around the rest.
"If you pay for all you buy and then pay
some on what you owe, that is better than
you have done, for ye ain't paid down the
account none in three years."

Finally I secured all their names to an
agreement binding them not to molest us as
long as the twenty percent of income was
paid regularly. Then we began scheming on
how to live upon seventy percent. We were
determined to keep that extra ten percent
to jingle. The thought of silver and
possibly gold was most alluring.

It was like having an adventure to make
the change. We enjoyed figuring this way
and that, to live comfortably upon that
remaining seventy percent. We started with
rent   and  managed   to  secure   a  fair
reduction. Next we put our favorite brands
of tea and such under suspicion and were
agreeably surprised how often we could
purchase superior qualities at less cost.

It is too long a story for a letter but
anyhow it did not prove difficult. We

managed and right cheerfully at that. What
a relief it proved to have our affairs in
such a shape we were no longer persecuted
by past due accounts.

I must not neglect, however, to tell you
about that extra ten percent we were
supposed to jingle. Well, we did jingle it
for some time. Now don't laugh too soon.
You see, that is the sporty part. It is
the real fun, to start accumulating money
that you do not want to spend. There is
more pleasure in running up such a surplus
than there could be in spending it.

After we had jingled to our hearts'
content, we found a more profitable use
for it. We took up an investment upon
which we could pay that ten percent each
month. This is proving to be the most
satisfying part of our regeneration. It is
the first thing we pay out of my check.

There is a most gratifying sense of
security to know our investment is growing
steadily. By the time my teaching days are
over it should be a snug sum, large enough
so the income will take care of us from
then on.

All this out of my same old check.
Difficult to believe, yet absolutely true.
All our debts being gradually paid and at
the same time our investment increasing.
Besides we get along, financially, even
better than before. Who would believe
there could be such a difference in
results between following a financial plan
and just drifting along.

At the end of the next year, when all our

old bills shall have been paid, we will
have more to pay upon our investment
besides some extra for travel.

We are determined never again to permit
our living expenses to exceed seventy
percent of our income.
Now you can understand why we would like
to extend our personal thanks to that old
chap whose plan saved us from our "Hell on

He knew. He had been through it all. He
wanted others to benefit from his own
bitter experiences. That is why he spent
tedious hours carving his message upon the

He   had  a   real   message  for   fellow
sufferers, a message so important that
after five thousand years it has risen out
of the ruins of Babylon, just as true and
just as vital as the day it was buried.

Yours sincerely,
Alfred H. Shrewsbury,
Department of Archaeology.

           The Luckiest Man in Babylon
At the head of his caravan, proudly rode Sharru Nada, the
merchant prince of Babylon. He liked fine cloth and wore
rich and becoming robes. He liked fine animals and sat
easily upon his spirited Arabian stallion. To look at him
one would hardly have guessed his advanced years.
Certainly they would not have suspected that he was
inwardly troubled.

The journey from Damascus is long and the hardships of
the desert many. These he minded not. The Arab tribes are
fierce and eager to loot rich caravans. These he feared not
for his many fleet mounted guards were a safe protection.

About the youth at his side, whom he was bringing from
Damascus, was he disturbed. This was Hadan Gula, the
grandson of his partner of other years, Arad Gula, to whom
he felt he owed a debt of gratitude which could never be
repaid. He would like to do something for this grandson,
but the more he considered this, the more difficult it
seemed because of the youth himself.

Eyeing the young man's rings and earrings, he thought to
himself, "He thinks jewels are for men, still he has his
grandfather's strong face. But his grandfather wore no such
gaudy robes. Yet, I sought him to come, hoping I might
help him get a start for himself and get away from the
wreck his father has made of their inheritance."

Hadan Gula broke in upon his thoughts, "Why dost thou
work so hard, riding always with thy caravan upon its long
journeys? Dost thou never take time to enjoy life?"

Sharru Nada smiled. "To enjoy life?" he repeated. "What
wouldst thou do to enjoy life if thou wert Sharru Nada?"

"If I had wealth equal to thine, I would live like a prince.
Never across the hot desert would I ride. I would spend the
shekels as fast as they came to my purse. I would wear the
richest of robes and the rarest of jewels. That would be a
life to my liking, a life worth living." Both men laughed.

"Thy grandfather wore no jewels." Sharru Nada spoke
before he thought, then continued jokingly, "Wouldst thou
leave no time for work?"

"Work was made for slaves," Hadan Gula responded.

Sharra Nada bit his lip but made no reply, riding in silence
until the trail led them to the slope. Here he reined his
mount and pointing to the green valley far away, "See,
there is the valley. Look far down and thou canst faintly see
the walls of Babylon. The tower is the Temple of Bel. If
thine eyes are sharp thou mayest even see the smoke from
the eternal fire upon its crest."

"So that is Babylon? Always have I longed to see the
wealthiest city in all the world," Hadan Gula commented.
"Babylon, where my grandfather started his fortune. Would
he were still alive. We would not be so sorely pressed."

"Why wish his spirit to linger on earth beyond its allotted
time? Thou and thy father can well carry on his good

"Alas, of us, neither has his gift. Father and myself know
not his secret for attracting the golden shekels."

Sharru Nada did not reply but gave rein to his mount and
rode thoughtfully down the trail to the valley. Behind them
followed the caravan in a cloud of reddish dust. Some time
later they reached the Kings' highway and turned south
through the irrigated farms.

Three old men plowing a field caught Sharru Nada's
attention. They seemed strangely familiar. How ridiculous!
One does not pass a field after forty years and find the same
men plowing there. Yet, something within him said they
were the same. One, with an uncertain grip, held the plow.
The others laboriously plodded beside the oxen,
ineffectually beating them with their barrel staves to keep
them pulling.

Forty years ago he had envied these men! How gladly he
would have exchanged places! But what a difference now.
With pride he looked back at his trailing caravan, well-
chosen camels and donkeys, loaded high with valuable
goods from Damascus. All this was but one of his

He pointed to the plowers, saying, "Still plowing the same
field where they were forty years ago."

"They look it, but why thinkest thou they are the same?"

"I saw them there," Sharru Nada replied. Recollections
were racing rapidly through his mind. Why could he not
bury the past and live in the present? Then he saw, as in a
picture, the smiling face of Arad Gula. The barrier between
himself and the cynical youth beside him dissolved.

But how could he help such a superior youth with his
spendthrift ideas and bejeweled hands? Work he could
offer in plenty to willing workers, but naught for men who
considered themselves too good for work. Yet he owed it to
Arad Gula to do something, not a half-hearted attempt. He
and Arad Gula had never done things that way. They were
not that sort of men.

A plan came almost in a flash. There were objections. He
must consider his own family and his own standing. It
would be cruel; it would hurt. Being a man of quick
decisions, he waived objections and decided to act.

"Wouldst thou be interested in hearing how thy worthy
grandfather and myself joined in the partnership which
proved so profitable?" he questioned.

"Why not just tell me how thou madest the golden shekels?
That is all I need to know," the young man parried.

Sharru Nada ignored the reply and continued, "We start
with those men plowing. I was no older than thou. As the
column of men in which I marched approached, good old
Megiddo, the farmer, scoffed at the slip-shod way in which
they plowed. Megiddo was chained next to me. 'Look at the
lazy fellows,' he protested, 'the plow holder makes no effort
to plow deep, nor do the beaters keep the oxen in the
furrow. How can they expect to raise a good crop with poor

"Didst thou say Megiddo was chained to thee?" Hadan
Gula asked in surprise.

"Yes, with bronze collars about our necks and a length of
heavy chain between us. Next to him was Zabado, the
sheep thief. I had known him in Harroun. At the end was a
man we called Pirate because he told us not his name. We
judged him as a sailor as he had entwined serpents tattooed
upon his chest in sailor fashion. The column was made up
thus so the men could walk in fours."

"Thou wert chained as a slave?" Hadan Gula asked

"Did not thy grandfather tell thee I was once a slave?"

"He often spoke of thee but never hinted of this."

"He was a man thou couldst trust with innermost secrets.
Thou, too, are a man I may trust, am I not right?" Sharru
Nada looked him squarely in the eye.

"Thou mayest rely upon my silence, but I am amazed. Tell
me how didst thou come to be a slave?"

Sharru Nada shrugged his shoulders, "Any man may find
himself a slave. It was a gaming house and barley beer that
brought me disaster. I was the victim of my brother's
indiscretions. In a brawl he killed his friend. I was bonded
to the widow by my fattier, desperate to keep my brother
from being prosecuted under the law. When my father
could not raise the silver to free me, she in anger sold me to
the slave dealer."

"What a shame and injustice!" Hadan Gula protested. "But
tell me, how didst thou regain freedom?"

"We shall come to that, but not yet. Let us continue my
tale. As we passed, the plowers jeered at us. One did doff
his ragged hat and bow low, calling out, "Welcome to
Babylon, guests of the King. He waits for thee on the city
walls where the banquet is spread, mud bricks and onion
soup.' With that they laughed uproariously.

"Pirate flew into a rage and cursed them roundly. 'What do
those men mean by the King awaiting us on the walls?' I
asked him.

"To the city walls ye march to carry bricks until the back
breaks. Maybe they beat thee to death before it breaks.
They won't beat me. Ill kill 'em.'

"Then Megiddo spoke up, 'It doesn't make sense to me to
talk of masters beating willing, hard-working slaves to
death. Masters like good slaves and treat them well."

" 'Who wants to work hard?' commented Zabado. 'Those
plowers are wise fellows. They're not breaking their backs.
Just letting on as if they be.'

" 'Thou can't get ahead by shirking,' Megiddo protested. If
thou plow a hectare, that's a good day's work and any
master knows it. But when thou plow only a half, that's
shirking. I don't shirk. I like to work and I like to do good
work, for work is the best friend I've ever known. It has
brought me all the good things I've had, my farm and cows
and crops, everything.'

" 'Yea, and where be these things now?' scoffed Zabado. 'I
figure it pays better to be smart and get by without
working. You watch Zabado, if we're sold to the walls, he'll
be carrying the water bag or some easy job when thou, who
like to work, will be breaking thy back carrying bricks.' He
laughed his silly laugh.

"Terror gripped me that night. I could not sleep. I crowded
close to the guard rope, and when the others
slept, I attracted the attention of Godoso who was doing the
first guard watch. He was one of those brigand Arabs, the
sort of rogue who, if he robbed thee of thy purse, would
think he must also cut thy

" 'Tell me, Godoso,' I whispered, 'when we get to Babylon
will we be sold to the walls?'

" 'Why want to know?' he questioned cautiously.

" 'Canst thou not understand?' I pleaded. 'I am young. I
want to live. I don't want to be worked or beaten to death
on the walls. Is there any chance for me to get a good

"He whispered back, 'I tell something. Thou good fellow,
give Godoso no trouble. Most times we go first to slave
market. Listen now. When buyers come, tell 'em you good
worker, like to work hard for good master. Make 'em want
to buy. You not make 'em buy, next day you carry brick.
Mighty hard work.'

"After he walked away, I lay in the warm sand, looking up
at the stars and thinking about work. What Megiddo had
said about it being his best friend made me wonder if it
would be my best friend. Certainly it would be if it helped
me out of this.

"When Megiddo awoke, I whispered my good news to him.
It was our one ray of hope as we marched toward Babylon.
Late in the afternoon we approached the walls and could
see the lines of men, like black ants, climbing up and down
the steep diagonal paths. As we drew closer, we were
amazed at the thousands of men working; some were
digging in the moat, others mixed the dirt into mud bricks.
The greatest number were carrying the bricks in large
baskets up those steep trails to the masons.*

"Overseers cursed the laggards and cracked bullock whips
over the backs of those who failed to keep in line. Poor,
worn-out fellows were seen to stagger and fall beneath their
heavy baskets, unable to rise again. If the lash failed to
bring them to their feet, they were pushed to the side of the
paths and left writhing in agony. Soon they would be
dragged down to join other craven bodies beside the road-
*The famous works of ancient Babylon, its walls, temples, hanging gardens and great canals,
were built by slave labor, mainly prisoners of war, which explains the inhuman treatment they
received. This force of workmen also included many citizens of Babylon and its provinces who
had been sold into slavery because of crimes or financial troubles. It was a common custom for
men to put themselves, their wives or their children up as a bond to guarantee payment of
loans, legal judgments or other obligations. In case of default, those so bonded were sold into

way to await un-sanctified graves. As I beheld the ghastly
sight, I shuddered. So this was what awaited my father's
son if he failed at the slave market.

"Godoso had been right. We were taken through the gates
of the city to the slave prison and next morning marched to
the pens in the market. Here the rest of the men huddled in
fear and only the whips of our guard could keep them
moving so the buyers could examine them. Megiddo and
myself eagerly talked to every man who permitted us to
address him.

"The slave dealer brought soldiers from the King's Guard
who shackled Pirate and brutally beat him when he
protested. As they led him away, I felt sorry for him.

"Megiddo felt that we would soon part. When no buyers
were near, he talked to me earnestly to impress upon me
how valuable work would be to me in the future: 'Some
men hate it. They make it their enemy. Better to treat it like
a friend, make thyself like it. Don't mind because it is hard.
If thou thinkest about what a good house thou build, then
who cares if the beams are heavy and it is far from the well
to carry the water for the plaster. Promise me, boy, if thou
get a master, work for him as hard as thou canst. If he does
not appreciate all thou do, never mind. Remember, work,
well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him
a better man.' He stopped as a burly farmer came to the
enclosure and looked at us critically.

"Megiddo asked about his farm and crops, soon convincing
him that he would be a valuable man. After violent
bargaining with the slave dealer, the farmer drew a fat
purse from beneath his robe, and soon Megiddo had
followed his new master out of sight.

"A few other men were sold during the morning. At noon
Godoso confided to me that the dealer was disgusted and
would not stay over another night but would take all who
remained at sundown to the King's buyer. I was becoming
desperate when a fat, good-natured man walked up to the
wall and inquired if there was a baker among us.

"I approached him saying, "Why should a good baker like
thyself seek another baker of inferior ways? Would it not
be easier to teach a willing man like myself thy skilled
ways? Look at me, I am young, strong and like to work.
Give me a chance and I will do my best to earn gold and
silver for thy purse."

"He was impressed by my willingness and began
bargaining with the dealer who had never noticed me since
he had bought me but now waxed eloquent on my abilities,
good health and good disposition. I felt like a fat ox being
sold to a butcher. At last, much to my joy, the deal was
closed. I followed my new master away, thinking I was the
luckiest man in Babylon.

"My new home was much to my liking. Nana-naid, my
master, taught me how to grind the barley in the stone bowl
that stood in the courtyard, how to build the fire in the oven
and then how to grind very fine the sesame flour for the
honey cakes. I had a couch in the shed where his grain was
stored. The old slave housekeeper, Swasti, fed me well and
was pleased at the way I helped her with the heavy tasks.

"Here was the chance I had longed for to make myself
valuable to my master and, I hoped, to find a way to earn
my freedom.

"I asked Nana-naid to show me how to knead the bread and
to bake. This he did, much pleased at my willingness.
Later, when I could do this well, I asked him to show me
how to make the honey cakes, and soon I was doing all the
baking. My master was glad to be idle, but Swasti shook
her head in disapproval, 'No work to do is bad for any man,'
she declared.

"I felt it was time for me to think of a way by which I might
start to earn coins to buy my freedom. As the baking was
finished at noon, I thought Nana-naid would approve if I
found profitable employment for the afternoons and might
share my earnings with me. Then the thought came to me,
why not bake more of the honey cakes and peddle them to
hungry men upon the streets of the city?

"I presented my plan to Nana-naid this way: 'If I can use
my afternoons after the baking is finished to earn for thee
coins, would it be only fair for thee to share my earnings
with me that I might have money of my own to spend for
those things which every man desires and needs?

" 'Fair enough, fair enough,' he admitted. When I told him
of my plan to peddle our honey cakes, he was well pleased.
'Here is what we will do,' he suggested. 'Thou sellest them
at two for a penny, then half of the pennies will be mine to
pay for the flour and the honey and the wood to bake them.
Of the rest, I shall take half and thou shall keep half.'

"I was much pleased by his generous offer that I might
keep for myself, one-fourth of my sales. That night I
worked late to make a tray upon which to display them.
Nana-naid gave me one of his worn robes that I might look
well, and Swasti helped me patch it and wash it clean.

"The next day I baked an extra supply of honey cakes.
They looked brown and tempting upon the tray as I went
along the street, loudly calling my wares. At first no one
seemed interested, and I became discouraged. I kept on and
later in the afternoon as men became hungry, the cakes
began to sell and soon my tray was empty.

"Nana-naid was well pleased with my success and gladly
paid me my share. I was delighted to own pennies.
Megiddo had been right when he said a master appreciated
good work from his slaves. That night I was so excited over
my success I could hardly sleep and tried to figure how
much I could earn in a year and how many years would be
required to buy my freedom.

"As I went forth with my tray of cakes every day, I soon
found regular customers. One of these was none other than
thy grandfather, Arad Gula. He was a rug merchant and
sold to the housewives, going from one end of the city the
other, accompanied by a donkey loaded high with rugs and
a black slave to tend it. He would buy two cakes for
himself and two for his slave, always tarrying to talk with
me while they ate them.

Thy grandfather said something to me one day that I shall
always remember. 'I like thy cakes, boy, but better still I
like the fine enterprise with which thou offerest them. Such
spirit can carry thee far on the road to success.'

"But how canst thou understand, Hadan Gula, what such
words of encouragement could mean to a slave boy,
lonesome in a great city, struggling with all he had in him
to find a way out of his humiliation?

"As the months went by I continued to add pennies to my
purse. It began to have a comforting weight upon my belt.
Work was proving to be my best friend Just as Megiddo
had said. I was happy but Swasti was worried.

" 'Thy master, I fear to have him spend so much time at the
gaming houses,' she protested.

"I was overjoyed one day to meet my friend Megiddo upon
the street. He was leading three donkeys loaded with
vegetables to the market. 'I am doing mighty well,' he said.
'My master does appreciate my good work for now I am a
foreman. See, he does trust the marketing to me, and also
he is sending for my family. Work is helping me to recover
from my great trouble. Some day it will help me to buy my
freedom and once more own a farm of my own.'

"Time went on and Nana-naid became more and more
anxious for me to return from selling. He would be waiting
when I returned and would eagerly count and divide our
money. He would also urge me to seek further markets and
increase my sales.

"Often I went outside the city gates to solicit the overseers
of the slaves building the walls. I hated to return to the
disagreeable sights but found the overseers liberal buyers.
One day I was surprised to see Zabado waiting in line to fill
his basket with bricks. He was gaunt and bent, and his back
was covered with welts and sores from the whips of the
overseers. I was sorry for him and handed him a cake
which he crushed into his mouth like a hungry animal.
Seeing the greedy look in his eyes, I ran before he could
grab my tray.

" 'Why dost thou work so hard?' Arad Gula said to me one
day. Almost the same question thou asked of me today,
dost thou remember? I told him what Megiddo had said
about work and how it was proving to be my best friend. I
showed him with pride my wallet of pennies and explained
how I was saving them to buy my freedom.

" 'When thou art free, what wilt thou do?' he inquired.

" 'Then,' I answered, I intend to become a merchant.'

"At that, he confided in me. Something I had never
suspected. 'Thou knowest not that I, also, am a slave. I am
in partnership with my master.' "

"Stop," demanded Hadan Gula. 'I will not listen to lies
defaming my grandfather. He was no slave." His eyes
blazed in anger.

Sharru Nada remained calm. "I honor him for rising above
his misfortune and becoming a leading citizen of
Damascus. Art thou, his grandson, cast of the same mold?
Art thou man enough to face true facts, or dost thou prefer
to live under false illusions?"

Hadan Gula straightened in his saddle. In a voice
suppressed with deep emotion he replied, "My grandfather
was beloved by all. Countless were his good deeds. When
the famine came did not his gold buy grain in Egypt and
did not his caravan bring it to Damascus and distribute it to
the people so none would starve? Now thou sayest he was
but a despised slave in Babylon."

"Had he remained a slave in Babylon, then he might well
have been despised, but when, through his own efforts, he
became a great man in Damascus, the Gods indeed
condoned his misfortunes and honored him with their
respect," Sharru Nada replied.

"After telling me that he was a slave," Sharru Nada
continued, 'he explained how anxious he had been to earn
his freedom. Now that he had enough money to buy this he
was much disturbed as to what he should do. He was no
longer making good sales and feared to leave the support of
his master.

"I protested his indecision: 'Cling no longer to thy master.
Get once again the feeling of being a free man. Act like a
free man and succeed like one! Decide what thou desirest
to accomplish and then work will aid thee to achieve it!' He
went on his way saying he was glad I had shamed him for
his cowardice.*

"One day I went outside the gates again, and was surprised
to find a great crowd gathering there. When I asked a man
for an explanation he replied: 'Hast thou not heard? An
escaped slave who murdered one of the King's guards has
been brought to justice and will this day be flogged to death
for his crime. Even the King himself is to be here.'

"So dense was the crowd about the flogging post, I feared
to go near lest my tray of honey cakes be upset. Therefore,
I climbed up the unfinished wall to see over the heads of
the people. I was fortunate in having a view of
Nebuchadnezzar himself as he rode by in his golden
chariot. Never had I beheld such grandeur, such robes and
hangings of gold cloth and velvet.

"I could not see the flogging though I could hear the shrieks
of the poor slave. I wandered how one so noble as our
handsome King could endure to see such suffering, yet
when I saw he was laughing and joking with his nobles, I
knew he was cruel and understood why such inhuman tasks
were demanded of the slaves building the walls.

"After the slave was dead, his body was hung upon a pole
by a rope attached to his leg so all might see. As the crowd
began to thin, I went close. On the hairy chest, I saw
tattooed, two entwined serpents. It was Pirate.
"The next time I met Arad Gula he was a changed man.
*Slave customs in ancient Babylon, though they may seem inconsistent to us, were strictly
regulated by law. For example, a slave could own property of any kind, even other slaves upon
which his master had no claim. Slaves intermarried freely with non-slaves. Children of free
mothers were free. Most of the city merchants were slaves. Many of these were in partnership
with their masters and wealthy in their own right.

Full of enthusiasm he greeted me: 'Behold, the slave thou
knewest is now a free man. There was magic in thy words.
Already my sales and my profits are increasing. My wife is
overjoyed. She was a free woman, the niece of my master.
She much desires that we move to a strange city where no
man shall know I was once a slave. Thus our children shall
be above reproach for their father's misfortune. Work has
become my best helper. It has enabled me to recapture my
confidence and my skill to sell.'

"I was overjoyed that I had been able even in a small way,
to repay him for the encouragement he had given me.

"One evening Swasti came to me in deep distress: 'Thy
master is in trouble. I fear for him. Some months ago he
lost much at the gaming tables. He pays not the farmer for
his grain nor his honey. He pays not the money lender.
They are angry and threaten him.'

" "Why should we worry over his folly. We are not his
keepers,' I replied thoughtlessly.

" 'Foolish youth, thou understandeth not. To the money
lender didst he give thy title to secure a loan. Under the law
he can claim thee and sell thee. I know not what to do. He
is a good master. Why? Oh why, should such trouble come
upon him?'

"Not were Swasti's fears groundless. While I was doing the
baking next morning, the money lender returned with a
man he called Sasi. This man looked me over and said I
would do.

"The money lender waited not for my master to return but
told Swasti to tell him he had taken me. With only the robe
on my back and the purse of pennies hanging safely from
my belt, I was hurried away from the unfinished baking.
"I was whirled away from my dearest hopes as the
hurricane snatches the tree from the forest and casts it into
the surging sea. Again a gaming house and barley beer had
caused me disaster.

"Sasi was a blunt, gruff man. As he led me across the city, I
told him of the good work I had been doing for Nana-naid
and said I hoped to do good work for him. His reply offered
no encouragement:

" 'I like not this work. My master likes it not. The King has
told him to send me to build a section of the Grand Canal.
Master tells Sasi to buy more slaves, work hard and finish
quick. Bah, how can any man finish a big job quick?'

"Picture a desert with not a tree, just low shrubs and a sun
burning with such fury the water in our barrels became so
hot we could scarcely drink it. Then picture rows of men,
going down into the deep escavation and lugging heavy
baskets of dirt up soft, dusty trails from daylight until dark.
Picture food served in open troughs from which we helped
ourselves like swine. We had no tents, no straw for beds.
That was the situation in which I found myself. I buried my
wallet in a marked spot, wondering if I would ever dig it up

"At first I worked with good will, but as the months
dragged on, I felt my spirit breaking. Then the heat fever
took hold of my weary body. I lost my appetite and could
scarcely eat the mutton and vegetables. At night I would
toss in unhappy wakefulness.

"In my misery, I wondered if Zabado had not the best plan,
to shirk and keep his back from being broken in work.
Then I recalled my last sight of him and knew his plan was
not good.

"I thought of Pirate with his bitterness and wondered if it
might be just as well to fight and kill. The memory of his
bleeding body reminded me that his plan was also useless.

"Then I remembered my last sight of Megiddo. His hands
were deeply calloused from hard work but his heart was
light and there was happiness on his face. His was the best

"Yet I was just as willing to work as Megiddo; he could not
have worked harder than I. Why did not my work bring me
happiness and success? Was it work that brought Megiddo
happiness, or was happiness and success merely in the laps
of the Gods? Was I to work the rest of my life without
gaining my desires, without happiness and success? All of
these questions were jumbled in my mind and I had not an
answer. Indeed, I was sorely confused.

"Several days later when it seemed that I was at the end of
my endurance and my questions still unanswered, Sasi sent
for me. A messenger had come from my master to take me
back to Babylon. I dug up my precious wallet, wrapped
myself in the tattered remnants of my robe and was on my

"As we rode, the same thoughts of a hurricane whirling me
hither and thither kept racing through my feverish brain. I
seemed to be living the weird words of a chant from my
native town of Harroun:

"Was I destined to be ever thus punished for I knew not
what? What new miseries and disappointments awaited

"When we rode to the courtyard of my master's house,
imagine my surprise when I saw Arad Gula awaiting me.
He helped me down and hugged me like a long lost brother.

"As we went our way I would have followed him as a slave
should follow his master, but he would not permit me. He
put his arm about me, saying, 'I hunted everywhere for
thee. When I had almost given up hope, I did meet Swasti
who told me of the money lender, who directed me to thy
noble owner. A hard bargain he did drive and made me pay
an outrageous price, but thou art worth it. Thy philosophy
and thy enterprise have been my inspiration to this new

" 'Megiddo's philosophy, not mine,' I interrupted.

" 'Megiddo's and thine. Thanks to thee both, we are going
to Damascus and I need thee for my partner. 'See,' he
exclaimed, 'in one moment thou will be a free man!' So
saying he drew from beneath his robe the clay tablet
carrying my title. This he raised above his head and hurled
it to break in a hundred pieces upon the cobble stones. With
glee he stamped upon the fragments until they were but

"Tears of gratitude filled my eyes. I knew I was the luckiest
man in Babylon.

"Work, thou see, by this, in the time of my greatest distress,
didst prove to be my best friend. My willingness to work
enabled me to escape from being sold to join the slave
gangs upon the walls. It also so impressed thy grandfather,
he selected me for his partner."

Then Hadan Gula questioned, "Was work my grandfather's

secret key to the golden shekels?"

"It was the only key he had when I first knew him," Sharru
Nada replied. "Thy grandfather enjoyed working. The Gods
appreciated his efforts and rewarded him liberally."

"I begin to see," Hadan Gula was speaking thoughtfully.
"Work attracted his many friends who admired his industry
and the success it brought. Work brought him the honors he
enjoyed so much in Damascus. Work brought him all those
things I have approved. And I thought work was fit only for

"Life is rich with many pleasures for men to enjoy," Sharru
Nada commented. "Each has its place. I am glad that work
is not reserved for slaves. Were that the case I would be
deprived of my greatest pleasure. Many things do I enjoy
but nothing takes the place of work."

Sharru Nada and Hadan Gula rode in the shadows of the
towering walls up to the massive, bronze gates of Babylon.
At their approach the gate guards jumped to attention and
respectfully saluted an honored citizen. With head held
high Sharru Nada led the long caravan through the gates
and up the streets of the city.

"I have always hoped to be a man like my grandfather,"
Hadan Gula confided to him. "Never before did I realize
just what kind of man he was. This thou hast shown me.
Now that I understand, I do admire him all the more and
feel more determined to be like him. I fear I can never
repay thee for giving me the true key to his success. From
this day forth, I shall use his key. I shall start humbly as he
started, which befits my true station far better than jewels
and fine robes."

So saying Hadan Gula pulled the jeweled baubles from his
ears and the rings from his fingers. Then reining his horse,
he dropped back and rode with deep respect behind the
leader of the caravan.



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